Solar Can Already Generate More Energy Than Oil, Says Major Scientific Review…

Solar Can Already Generate More Energy Than Oil, Says Major Scientific Review...


While the world has been going crazy, solar has quietly tipped over the edge and kicked oil and gas off the cliff of history.

A new scientific review finds that scientists are dramatically underestimating the efficiency and power of solar panels, because their data is at least seven years old. And that’s why most of them have managed to overlook a startling fact: For every unit of energy invested, solar can now generate the same if not more energy than oil and gas.

It will take a while for the implications to really impact our societies – there are regressive political and fossil fuel-centric forces standing in the way. But the new evidence is unavoidable: they are doomed.



The study published in November in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews looks at 29 studies which compare the energy generated by solar photovoltaics (PV) to the energy needed to create and install the panels.

By harmonizing all the data, the peer-reviewed study was able to calculate a more accurate figure for the amount of energy solar PVs are able to generate today.

The findings are astonishing: due to the lag in data used by scientists to analyze these issues, most studies fail to capture how far solar power has actually come. Solar is likely double in power what was previously thought, putting it on par with oil.

Solar: twice the power in half the time

“Energy input costs are typically overestimated as recent technological improvements are not captured,” the study concludes, recommending that future studies should “use recent data reflecting up-to-date technological standards.”

Study author Rembrandt Koppelaar, a doctoral researcher at the Center for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, said that his “best estimate” of how well solar technology works today derived from the studies that use data from 2009 onwards.

This data shows that solar is able to generate 14 times the energy invested to create the panels – “roughly double” what most studies are currently saying.

His other finding is that it only takes 2 years for the same quantity of energy used to create the panel, to be generated by the panel itself. This, he said, is “approximately half” of the value put forward in the literature.

Old data underestimates solar

“Only 5 out of 29 studies use recent data,” said Koppelaar:

“A study published in 2015 or 2016 can get away with using data that is 10 years old to assess the capability of a technology.”

He gives an example of one paper on solar PV “which uses data that comes from 1998.”

In other words, the figures circulating in the scientific community are often describing solar technology that is decades old. When the data is examined properly, a different picture emerges. Solar panels are about twice as powerful than usually assumed: potentially more powerful than oil.

Oil and gas now worse than solar

A major study by the Royal Society of London recently calculated that oil and gas production generates roughly 15 times the energy invested. It warns that this is now declining due to the accelerating dependence on lower quality unconventional sources, which are more expensive and harder to get out the ground.

In the US, for instance, oil and gas now generates roughly 11 times the amount of energy invested; and for most unconventional oil and biofuels, the figure is 10.

This means that according to the new meta-assessment by Koppelaar, if solar power can produce up to approximately 14 times the amount of energy invested, it is already able to produce more energy than oil and gas for every unit of energy invested.

Crappy oil, crappy economy

The author of that study, petroleum engineer Professor David Murphy of Northern Illinois University, wrote:

“… as the EROI of the average barrel of oil declines, long-term economic growth will become harder to achieve and come at an increasingly higher financial, energetic and environmental cost.”

The decreasing quality of oil as a resource is therefore playing a hidden role in undermining the scope for economic growth. If the world doesn’t transition fast enough to more robust energy sources like solar, which are now producing more energy per unit invested than oil, the economy will inevitably get worse.

Solar revolution is inevitable

For much of the world, solar panels are likely to be able to produce even more energy. Koppelaar said that about 85% of the world’s population resides in areas that receive a significant degree of sunlight:

“In Central and South America, Africa, the south of the United States, most of Asia and Oceania, the energy ratio of 14 would be seen as a ‘low value’.”

And this situation is only going to continue. Solar power is pitched to become more efficient and cost-effective in energy production in coming years, while oil and gas will decrease in quality the more we deplete global reserves.

Koppelaar said that the efficiency ratings he used for his study – between 14 and 16% – were very conservative:

“We are moving towards much more efficient panels. 21% are the best efficiency on the market right now. And it is within reach to have 30% efficient panels by 2040 and probably before that, based on new technology designs.”

In short, naysayers who dismiss renewables for being inferior as a source of energy to oil have another thing coming. Koppelaar’s new paper shows that solar power is already beating oil and gas, and will only get better. Article by Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed of Insurge Intelligence.


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(37) comments

at what cost? I have yet to hear of a big solar project that makes money.

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No way. Just propaganda from the econutters. Look at all the cropping land that is covered by the stuff as well as just natural (green) vegetation. BTW, an average wall battery for a home lasts about 3 hours (5 at most for 2 lights) before needing recharging. Too bad if next day is cloudy.

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Most production solar panels are still only 18-30% efficient, 40% under the most controlled lab conditions, maybe higher in space-based applications where the atmosphere is not an issue. In order to be a true replacement for fossil fuels, that efficiency will need to be 75-80% or higher. I’m an all-of-the-above type person when it comes to sources of energy, so I wish them luck in improving the technolo

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And do all the scientists have solar power for their homes? How about all these rich politicians? I think not

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Fake news.Shame on you Ecosnippits!!!!!

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Damn, don’t you just hate it when I’m right !

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not in related BTUs

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How much oil and silver are needed for the production of solar panels? How to dispose them after their shelf life? Way less eco than thought.

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Very few countries use oil for electricity generation . If a cloud passes over a solar panel the power it creates will drastically drop . Now times that over thousands of panels and what happens to the grid ?

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    Other fossil fuels like coal and natural gas are the biggest sources of fuel for power generation. Solar combined with wind, hydro, biofuels and off peak storage can provide a steady power supply. It will probably never be as cheap in real terms as petroleum was when we first started to exploit it, but those easily available oil supplies are long gone and will never return. It takes more and more energy to extract and refine the remaining petroleum. It is a losing game and we need to get realistic about how to power our civilization.

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    Cris see what people like you don’t understand is that solar still produces power even when cloudy – because solar doesn’t rely SOLELY on “visible light” – which is why places like Germany for example, which is pretty grey throughout the year can still do very well using solar.

    Now times that over “thousands of panels” and what happens to the grid? Its called REDUNDANCY… It can’t be cloudy, everywhere, at once. Smarty pants – and clearly you dont know enough about solar or green energy to be commenting, because solar panels dont get plugged directly in to the grid. They are always apart of a system, a system which would include batteries. Thus, again, giving you time until your full output production is possible.

    The idea that we need coal/oil/gas at all is ridiculous. We can do everything we need with technology that already exists. Want a “full time” power source? ok, geothermal… thermal up/down draft towers, the ocean… now add that to all the other green sources that already exist. We absolutely do NOT need fossil fuels.

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    You should see my power bill you would shit. lol

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    Fuck the grid, produce your own power! Or do you enjoy paying others to take care of you?

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    Nick Thompson the fact I haven’t had a power bill for 6 years now would suggest that I do know a little about solar . But it seems it’s you that dosnt know enough about solar .

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    Devin Culley lol why would I shit seeing your power bill ? So you built your solar system or do you you enjoy paying other to do it for you ?

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    Now it’s great all you people bothered with your pointless comments but it still dosnt change the fact that very few countries use oil for power and the fact that clouds can slash a solar panels power output .
    Some of you have written great stories but I can’t work out why ?

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    Just agreeing with you, America is far behind other countries but hey we got beer and NFL.

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    Devin Culley why do Americans think every Facebook page and every person following those pages are American ? The world is bigger then America .

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    I’m in the UK. Clouds going over my panels aren’t a problem. When my panels are generating a lot of power (more than I’m using at the time), I sell it back to the grid. When the panels are not producing much, I buy a little power from the grid. Now my kids have left home, I produce more power than I can use. I thought about fitting the battery thing to the outside wall to store some, but cost wise it doesn’t stack up at the moment. If the kids move back (again!) then I might well fit the battery. Then I probably wouldn’t need to buy in any power from the grid at all. Solar is most definitely the way forward as far as I’m concerned 🙂

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    Jill Adams that’s a great story Jill but you don’t seem to understand how it works . It’s like a car driving down the road . Along a flat motorway the car runs great it cruises along but when it gets to a hill (cloud) then it slows down and needs more power to get up the hill at the same speed . Now our homes , offices and factories need a constant power voltage to much and it blows things up and not enough it browns out . Yes solar works great but isn’t reliable enough to run without gas or nuclear or some other bass load power .

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Oil, hell we’re still pimping the true environment destroyer: coal. Our ‘leaders’ in both parties want to destroy the planet.

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    Currently the cleanest coal powerplant is in the us. Its emissions barely register on teating equipment. The only reason coal is still a contributor is because obamas admin tried to shut them down and stiffled further innovation on upgrading older plants. In the us coal is one of the cleanest energy production methods their is. In china and india not so much.

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All fossil fuels were created by solar energy, why not go right to the source?

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Yeah if we turn the state of nevada into a solar farm lmfao

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So this is why Obama gave millions to cylindra only to find out China rules. At least let trump try to get it back.

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Here’s an idea, before you get your free check, spend an hour on a treadmill generating power.

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While this is certainly true, we must be cautious not to turn a solution into a new form of problem. Many of the countries that are making great strides in green energy are doing so by building solar farms. Huge swaths of land which could be forests or farms, but are being employed for nothing other than solar generation. Meanwhile we have billions of hectares of rooftops on existing structures, sidewalks and pavement that are not being used for power generation and instead are made with materials which increase the Earth’s albedo, thus worsening the problem.

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Shame the Republican Congress and tRump don’t understand that.

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Why not? It already powers an entire solar system! ?

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