Rebuttal – Spooky

Solar power is the only power source that will outlast humankind. It is common knowledge that the human race will go before the Earth’s sun burns out, and if it doesn’t the human race will go with the sun. Solar is the most effective way to produce power when it comes to cost, risk, and resource consumption. We will run out of fossil fuels, but we wont run out of the sun. Many challenge this with the fact that the sun is not always shining, that the panels cost to much, that they take up to much space, or that other power sources already have a better capacity factor These are conclusions from the lack of research and misinformation, or not seeing the negative effects that other power sources come with.

In an article by the Office of Nuclear Energy, Mike Mueller argues that nuclear power plants outperform every other source of energy by a long shot. According to energy.gov a nuclear plant produces around 1 gigawatt of power and costs six to nine billion dollars. A common misconception on the solar panel topic is the cost per panel. According to Andrew Sendy in “Solar Reviews” an everyday American the average cost per panel in a home is $3 per panel. At first glance this is outlandish compared to the cost effectiveness of other power sources, but when building Solar Farms companies buy materials to build panels in bulk which, according to Ula Chrobak in “Solar power got cheap,” brings the price per panel down to a measly 70 cents per panel. That being said if someone were to spend six billion dollars on utility scale solar panels they would produce 4.2 gigawatts of power. While nuclear power plants may be running 93% of the time, the cost to production ratio is severely outweighed by the solar option. The cost of solar is only going down, as seen in a graph by Sara Chodosh, there is a linear downward slope since 1976.

Furthermore the placement of solar panels can greatly increase the effectiveness of solar to outperform other power sources even more than it already does. According to Andrew Sendy in “Solar energy pros and cons in 2021” the biggest downside to Solar is the sun not being in the sky all the time, along with the sun’s intensity differing from location to location. The intensity of the sun and time the sun shines contributes largely to the effectiveness of the solar farm. Placing solar panels in environments that receive long-lasting intense sunlight i.e. a desert, or a mesa, in addition to storing excess energy in cost-effective batteries to use when the sun is not shining solves this problem. He also argues that the amount of space solar panels requires is much greater than coal or nuclear. He fails to mention the large perimeter of space around nuclear plants that needs constant watch for security and radioactive contamination, and the land that was mined for the fossil fuels required in coal plants.

Another notable argument against solar is that they technically are not completely environmentally friendly. The production of solar panels requires refining quartz crystals which emits minimal of carbon and sulfur dioxide. This is the main point of Dustin Mulvaney’s article “Solar energy isn’t always as green as you think”. He claims the “several incidents have linked the manufacture of [solar panels] to a trail of chemical pollution, but a couple sentences later he says that the chemicals “cant do much harm to the people working in the refineries or to the immediate environment.” This minimal amount of emission is incomprehensible compared to the emissions from fossil fuels or the radioactive risk from nuclear.

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