by Viv Forbes, Executive Director, The Saltbush Club, ©2022 

(Feb. 1, 2022) — 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.

More interested in propaganda than science, greens call land-based arrays “solar farms” suggesting they are plant-friendly places. However solar panels steal sunlight, leaving real plants beneath them to die. Solar “farms” have nothing in common with real farms except the need for large areas of open countryside – usually consuming valuable flattish cleared farmland or open grassland.

In fact growing plants are a liability to solar “farms” because they can block solar energy, so the operators must prevent grass, weeds and bushes from shadowing the panels and stealing their sunshine. Thus most plant-life in solar “farms” is killed – either by the blocking of the sun, or by regular applications of herbicide, or by roadways.

A big solar “farm” in Australia could contain one million solar panels and smother 2,000 acres of land. Each operation also needs miles of cleared access roads and transmission lines to maintain the facility, collect the electricity and transmit it to urban demand centres. Most of the time these transmission lines are operating well below capacity, creating an expensive web of inefficient maintenance liabilities.

Australia is also a world leader in installing subsidised rooftop solar. But a quick drive around the suburbs will show that few panels have the size, the ideal orientation or the cleanliness to be efficient collectors of solar energy – they are green status symbols designed to collect subsidies. Many will fail to recover the real cost of manufacture, transport, installation, maintenance and restoration. They destabilise the electricity network and elevate average electricity prices for industry and for those who cannot afford a house, let alone one with its own solar panels.

All for ZERO climate benefits.


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  1. Nuclear power is IMO the solution. Yes, I am in favor of nuclear because I worked in the nuclear industry for 30 years as an NRC, (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), licensed Senior Reactor Operator and later an instructor. The plant I helped start-up and operate in the early 70’s is still operating after getting several NRC license extensions, and the present shut-down date is 2030, with the possibility of another extension until 2050. The safe and reliable plant provides enough electricity for about 2/3 of Arkansas. There is no better way and a new generation of plants would be even more safe and reliable than those designed in the 60’s and built in 70’s and 80’s………..But, the word “nuclear” probably means that will never happen…………