The terms “energy payback” and “energy payback period” when used to discuss solar power might be kind of confusing at first glance, but when you dig a little deeper, you get much more clarity. Energy payback refers to the amount of energy a solar power system has to make in order to equal the energy which was used to produce it. Most solar panels are made up of solar cells which are manufactured from silicon. This non-metal element must be processed in order to be usable in solar cells. The processing consumes some energy, as does the assembly of solar cells into solar panels.
Solar Energy Return On Investment — Energy Payback Period
solar pvSome critics and skeptics incorrectly say too much energy is consumed in the production of solar panels and that the panels don’t generate enough electricity during their lifetimes to make up for it.
This criticism has been proven to be false, and may be nothing more than a deliberate form of misinformation intended to persuade people who are interested in solar power to lose that interest. Too often, the critics turn out to be people who are directly or indirectly connected to fossil fuel industries like oil and gas, nuclear, or coal. They also may be politically conservative — certain highly politicized members of that group have historically opposed renewable energy to some degree.
Read more: Solar ERoEI Is Actually Really, Really Good