Australia’s Giant Green Gamble on Solar Energy Toys by Viv Forbes
By the time solar energy reaches Earth’s surface it is spread very thin – even midday sunshine will not boil the billy or make toast. And solar collectors will only convert about 20% of that weak energy into electricity. Thus thousands of solar panels are needed to collect significant energy, and lots more to charge the expensive batteries needed to maintain electricity supply overnight and during cloudy weather. Despite these disadvantages, force-feeding of “green” energy by all levels of government has given Australia nearly three million solar collectors (mainly imported from China).
It requires scads of land to generate significant electricity from the sun’s weak rays. But even in sunny weather they produce nothing for 16 hours every day. And a sprinkling of dust, pollen, ash or salt, or a few splatters of poop from birds or flying foxes can reduce output by 50%, while night, snow or heavy cloud cover snuffs them out completely.
Solar energy collection is maximised if the panels face the sun exactly and follow the daily and seasonal movements of the sun across the sky. No rooftop collectors and only 40% of ground facilities can do this. Thus to produce the planned energy requires an even bigger area of collector panels, covering even more land.
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