|Solar Cells Linked to Greenhouse Gases Over 23,000 Times Worse than Carbon Dioxide|
The University of Nebraska Press just published a book by Ozzie Zehner, visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley STSC. In his book "Green Illusions" Ozzie Zehner points to the curious fact that solar cells do not offset greenhouse gases or curb fossil fuel use in the United States:
"Green Illusions explains how the solar industry has grown to become one of the leading emitters of hexafluoroethane (C2F6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). These three potent greenhouse gases, used by solar cell fabricators, make carbon dioxide (CO2) seem harmless.
Hexafluoroethane has a global warming potential that is 12,000 times higher than CO2, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is 100 percent manufactured by humans, and survives 10,000 years once released into the atmosphere. Nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more virulent than CO2, and SF6, the most treacherous greenhouse gas, is over 23,000 times more threatening."
"Even worse, there's no evidence that solar cells offset fossil fuel use in the American context." Zehner explains that alternative energy subsidies keep retail electricity costs incrementally lower, which then spurs demand. "It's a boomerang effect," remarks Zehner. "The harder we throw alternative energy into the electrical grid, the harder demand comes back to hit us on the head. Historically, we've filled that demand by building more fossil fuel plants, not fewer."