Or are solar cells too polluting to manufacture? – Solar power may serve all the energy needs of people on earth in the future, BUT manufacturing solar cells may release more hazardous pollution than fossil fuels would.

In LiveScience.com, Robin Lloyd talks about Ray Kurzweil, who predicted the fall of the Soviet Union and the success of the internet. Now he’s predicting that solar energy will be the next major power source. Lloyd quotes Kurzweil as saying he is “confident that we are not that far away from a tipping point where energy from solar will be [economically] competitive with fossil fuels.”

But contrary to what many people believe, the dream of solar power DOES NOT include the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, once you take into consideration the fact that solar cells have to be manufactured by conventional means. In LiveScience.com, Charles Q. Choi writes that researchers who gathered air pollution emissions data from 13 manufacturers of four major commercial types of solar cells in Europe and the United States from 2004 to 2006 report that “Making solar or photovoltaic cells requires potentially toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. It even produces greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that contribute to global warming.”

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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