I'd like to know where you heard that (incorrect) tidbit
about solar panels having more energy content than they generate.
Last I checked (about 15 years ago) it was information published
by the maker of my solar panels (Kyocera) showing that typical
energy payback time of complete solar panels (cells, glass and
alu frame together) was in the order of 1 year, but due to the
fact that I installed them in The Netherlands, my energy payback
time was closer to 2 years.
And this was of course well before the current solar improvements
of thin film or ribbon cells, which greatly reduce the amount of
silicon per cell, as well as the progress of efficiency which means
more energy returned per surface area.
So - I expect that solar panel energy payback is certainly under
1 year in favorable locations and it can be over 1 year in less
favorable locations. But no way that energy would not pay back
or the price of the panels would not offset the price of electricity
generated and it does - a couple times over even - including manhours
and other non-energy related cost additions.

But it is good to look at the source - where did you find this info?

Cor van de Water
Chief Scientist
Proxim Wireless Corporation
Email: Private:
Skype: cor_van_de_water Tel: +1 408 383 7626

-----Original Message-----
From: EV [] On Behalf Of Bill Woodcock
via EV
Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2014 4:44 AM
To: Lawrence Rhodes; Electric Vehicle Discussion List
Subject: Re: [EVDL] Solar roadways.

Raw silicon is certainly less expensive, but refined silicon is refined
by, ahem, burning a LOT of petrochemicals.  Not quite as
energy-intensive as aluminum smelting, I'd guess, but nearly so. That's
why the embedded energy of PV panels nearly always outweighs their
lifetime solar energy capture. Have to put them in the right places
(meaning Arizona or New Mexico or North Africa, not your roof) to make
that equation work out favorably. Unfortunately. 


> On May 24, 2014, at 19:49, "Lawrence Rhodes via EV"
<> wrote:
> I think the reasoning is silicon is cheaper than petrochemicals.  I
particularly like the idea of programmable and sensing roadways.
Reminds me of the world of Minority Report.  Lawrence Rhodes 
> On Saturday, May 24, 2014 6:09 PM, Lee Hart <>
>> Lawrence Rhodes via EV wrote:
>>> This is a very good idea in my opinion.
>> It's an interesting idea. But cost is going to be a *major* problem.
>> I wonder why they just don't put the PV panels in the noise walls, 
>> barriers, and other vertical constructions alongside the highways.
>> don't have to carry road traffic, and are much easier to erect and 
>> repair without closing traffic.
>> -- 
>> A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is
>> nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
>>          -- Antoine de Saint Exupery
>> --
>> Lee Hart's EV projects are at
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