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Dirty Energy & Fuel

Solar Compared (Gram for Gram) to Nuclear and Coal

Susan Kraemer of our sister site Cleantechnica recently covered an interesting story, a comparison of solar to nuclear and coal by weight. Take a guess which one wins.

Here’s the intro from Susan.

An interestingly novel way of comparing solar power with nuclear power finds that solar easily bests nuclear. Ken Zweibel has an analysis at The Solar Review, that compares the two kinds of electrical energy, in terms of how much power is packed into each gram of its respective material: cadmium telluride, versus uranium.

He provides data showing that CdTe thin film solar power (using cadmium telluride) takes ten times less PV material to make 1 kilowatt hour of electricity, than nuclear uses of uranium, to make an identical 1 kilowatt hour of electricity.

This is even comparing the two as if solar “used up” each gram of cadmium telluride the way that nuclear power uses up its uranium fuel (pretty much – some can be recycled, theoretically). But of course, solar doesn’t burn up fuel. You can get electricity from the same grams of PV material for at least thirty years, and then the material can be recycled and still used again.

Interested in learning more? Read Susan’s full story here or the piece by Ken via the link above: Compared Gram for Gram, Solar is Ten Times More Powerful than Nuclear

Photo Credit: Two Crabs




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