LETTER: Are solar panels good?

Are solar panels a good idea for electrical generation?

They collect solar radiation, some of which would normally be reflected back out to space.

So, for the sake of this discussion, let’s say in this geographical region, 20 percent of the solar radiation would have been reflected back to space.

Some of that could still be trapped by clouds or greenhouse gasses, but some would still escape.

If 100 percent were trapped here on Earth, the results would be catastrophic.

Our planet would overheat and we would all die.

So thank God some escapes.

Now install solar panels.

For the sake of discussion, let’s say they are very efficient and trap 100 percent of the solar radiation that contacts them.

That radiation is converted to electricity.

Now compare this electricity to the hydropower the Northwest is famous for.

After considering the construction and eventual disposal of the solar panel, which is more environmentally friendly?

Now consider that the 100 percent solar radiation we collected and converted to electricity is converted to heat when used, some of which would have been reflected back to space if not collected.

After doing all these calculations, ask yourself what CO2 does that a solar panel does not.

They both trap solar radiation, thereby warming our planet.

My guess is that here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s about a wash.

In drier climates, where solar panels work best, more radiation would have been reflected back to space, making solar panels larger contributors to global warming.

Mark A. White

Port Angeles