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Thread: Solar Panels contribute to global warming in their use

  1. #1 Solar Panels contribute to global warming in their use 
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    Solar panels trap a greater amount of energy from the sun than the natural terrain (since it is black) and consequently retains that energy on earth contributing to the rising temperatures on the planet.

    For example - a solar powered motor will still produce heat through friction which would then be stuck on the planet.

    If this is true, does anyone know any good articles on the topic?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Come on. By that logic a black car contributes to global warming more than a light colored one, and eating beans and coleslaw contributes to methane release. If your hair is black and you wantonly fail to dye it blond I will report you.


    This sounds more like a desperate attempt by the oil industry to grasp straws than a serious enironmental concern. :wink:

    But then not being an expert by any stretch I m curious to see what more knowledgable individuals will say.

    And, doesnt it depend on what form the energy exists as while on earth? Id rather sit next to a charged batttery than in a green house? Plus an electric car (forgive the sidetracking) generates way less friction (and need for replacement parts) than a cumbustion engine, and doesnt a thermal powerplant or combustion engine generate some heat and green house gases on top of the energy it produces?


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    haha - maybe thats what hitler was after although I was kind of hoping to keep out the comparisons.
    Still though, it also more of an argument for reducing energy consumption I think. For producing more efficient ways of living rather than beefing up alternative energy.

    Any actual contribution to the original topic?
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  5. #4 Re: Solar Panels contribute to global warming in their use 
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    Quote Originally Posted by cman
    Solar panels trap a greater amount of energy from the sun than the natural terrain (since it is black) and consequently retains that energy on earth contributing to the rising temperatures on the planet.

    For example - a solar powered motor will still produce heat through friction which would then be stuck on the planet.

    If this is true, does anyone know any good articles on the topic?
    It's not true, because you are ignoring where that trapped energy goes. A solar panel converts that "greater amount of energy" into a usable and transferable source which can power other things... anything which plugs in or requires heating. When striking natural terrain, all of that solar radiation simply dissipates as heat (barring the photosynthetic and other similar processes).

    When you look at the net result, solar is clearly not a net contributor to rising temperatures, and this is especially apparent when measured against the reduction in CO2 which is released into the atmosphere from those sources whose demand is ultimately reduced by contributions from solar generation.
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  6. #5  
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    The ultimate form of any energy is heat, as entropy will always increase. The difference is the amount of work this energy does along the way to its final 'state'.
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  7. #6  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MigL
    The ultimate form of any energy is heat
    Just to pick a little nit... This doesn't even make sense. Heat is not energy, but the transfer of it. A more accurate term would probably be "radiation."
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    I beg to differ. Heat is a form of energy. A difference in heat will perform work.
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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MigL
    A difference in heat will perform work.
    Sorry, no. You're now referring to temperature. I won't belabor it, though.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat


    I was, however, mistaken in the previous. Heat a form of energy. My bad.
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  10. #9  
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    Temperature is a measure of heat, and you are belaboring it.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MigL
    Temperature is a measure of heat, and you are belaboring it.
    Interesting. I'd always been taught that temperature is a measure of the average velocity of particles in a system (like matter). I'd always been taught that heat is the transfer of energy. When I search these terms, all reliable sources confirm my point.

    Let's get back on topic. The net effect of solar panels is to reduce warming overall, even though they are dark and their surfaces will be warmer than the surrounding area.
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  12. #11  
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    Temperature is a measure of energy. Heat being an energy is measured by temperature. You can measure the temperature of energy, not just moving particles, such as light from the sun or even cosmic background radiation. Maybe its not a standard convention, but is true.

    Now back on topic.
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  13. #12 Re: Solar Panels contribute to global warming in their use 
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    Quote Originally Posted by cman
    Solar panels trap a greater amount of energy from the sun than the natural terrain (since it is black) and consequently retains that energy on earth contributing to the rising temperatures on the planet.

    For example - a solar powered motor will still produce heat through friction which would then be stuck on the planet.

    If this is true, does anyone know any good articles on the topic?
    Sure it's true. But it's only half the equation.

    For a useful comparison you must now compare to the heat produced by the equivalent electric energy of what the panel will produce to that of the same electricity produced by burning fossil fuels over the course of it's 20 or so years of service life.

    Then add how much additional heating that added Co2 from burning that fossil fuel will add to the planet of the next hundred years or so before its reduced by natural processes.

    After doing that I think you'll find that solar power looks pretty good compared to burning fossil fuels to produce electricity based on amount of heat it adds.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
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