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Is solar energy 100% renewable?

Rafael Herzberg's picture
Consultant energy affairs, Self employed

Rafael Herzberg- is an independent energy consultant, self-employed (since 2018) based in São Paulo, Brazil* Focus on C level, VPs and upper managers associated to energy related info, analysis...

  • Member since 2003
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  • May 19, 2022

Is solar energy 100% renewable?

The prevailing perception among my acquaintances is that solar energy is the "cleanest, and one of the best available from an environmental point of view!".

When people ask me if this is the case, I show that looking at it  from the point of view of power production, yes, it is a spectacular source!

But I take the opportunity to raise the following aspects:

1. Emissions in the production of panels

The production of films used for solar panels involves significant emissions. Anyone who wants to be careful uses a metric of emissions generated in their production and refers to it in a life cycle emissions format.

2. Emissions ...complementary sources

Whoever puts solar panels on their roof has energy available during the hours of insulation. Outside this period depends on the electric public grid.

 In Brazil, the power matrix is, on average, 85% renewable (hydro, wind, biomass and solar). But there is 15% thermal, dispatched by the National System Operator that needs to be activated to meet the country's demand curve.

That is to say that solar panels - looking systemically - also depend on thermal plants!


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Thank Rafael for the Post!
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