No solar

Much hilarity around the internet this morning as self-appointed God and champignon of free speech (except when it offends him) Stephen Fry shared this little gem about a North Carolina town rejecting solar power after Ms Mann, a retired science teacher nogal, told a public meeting that:

plants near solar farms do not thrive because there wasn’t enough sunshine left over for them to photosynthesise.

Worst Mannsplaining ever.
Her husband (qualifications unknown) added:

solar panels suck up all the energy from the sun.

And, in all honesty, you’d actually be hard pressed to disagree with that.

But these aren’t good reasons to reject solar power. No. Good reasons to reject solar power are its massive inefficiency, the fact that it only works during the day and actually takes power from the grid the rest of the time (many learned folks refer to this as “night”), and its “hidden” environmental costs: the land use and habitat loss on their installation, and the massive water use and the nasty chemicals that go into making the photovoltaic cells.

When Ms Mann also questioned the high number of cancer deaths in the area, saying “no one could tell her that solar panels didn’t cause cancer”, she was only half wrong. Chemicals like arsenic, cadmium telluride, hexafluoroethane, lead, and polyvinyl fluoride aren’t exactly the healthiest things to be using in any manufacturing process. Of course, the half wrong bit is that the solar panels don’t cause cancer where they are installed – that’s all left over in the third world country that’s producing them.

So that’s alright then, isn’t it?

Next week – the conveniently overlooked problems of wind power, including the killing of bats and birds, the 40-storey eyesores being erected all over our beautiful countryside and the fact that it is destroying the local yachting industry by using up all the breeze.

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