|Image Source: Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit, "How Germany Became a Solar Superpower"|
In our slow-shuffle to global mediocrity, Germany and China are quickly filling the vacuum that could be occupied by American technological leadership.
Solar panels require factories to build them. That requires a fleet of implanter systems (high-energy particle accelerators) to dope the silicon, making it such that it collects energy from the sun in the form of electricity - phosphorous for electrons and boron to encourage holes:
Simply put, a solar panel works by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity. Solar panels actually comprise many, smaller units called photovoltaic cells. (Photovoltaic simply means they convert sunlight into electricity.) Many cells linked together make up a solar panel.
Each photovoltaic cell is basically a sandwich made up of two slices of semi-conducting material, usually silicon — the same stuff used in microelectronics.
To work, photovoltaic cells need to establish an electric field. Much like a magnetic field, which occurs due to opposite poles, an electric field occurs when opposite charges are separated. To get this field, manufacturers "dope" silicon with other materials, giving each slice of the sandwich a positive or negative electrical charge.
Source: Live Science
I consider solar power helping with climate change and cleaner air fridge benefits. The main benefit is something we hope our political leaders are focused on: jobs.
The presence of factories positively stresses every aspect of society around it. What do I mean by that? K-12 and post-secondary education aligns to prepare future workers at the management, engineering and technicians at all levels, hopefully eschewing moribund standardized tests, i.e. the testing industrial complex's educational "bridge to nowhere." The place needs administrative assistants, plumbers, painters, carpenters, electricians, janitors, carpet and floor cleaners and if a cafeteria is on site, cooks! UPS, DHL and the US Postal Service will have to staff stations and trucks to make deliveries as well as airlines assigned to them. In other words, EVERY aspect of full employment at every level in this country, whether one has a college degree or not.
My concern is for running fossil fuels literally "to the last drop" and scoring short-sighted political points, we miss the long-term benefits of employing our citizens and stabilizing our society for the Common Good, regardless of which party is in power.
In the early 2000s Al Gore emerged from a devastating presidential election defeat with a new quest: to warn the world about global warming. Although some may think his climate work peaked with his 2005 film, An Inconvenient Truth, he has taken his mission far beyond the silver screen. Over the past decade the former vice president has trained thousands of climate leaders who are now spreading awareness about global warming in communities around the planet. He has also worked with government leaders on switching energy economies from fossil fuels to renewables, and has traveled to places such as Greenland and India to witness firsthand the damaging effects of our carbon-addicted world. Now Gore is back in theaters on August 4 with An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power to convince the public we desperately need to act on climate change—and fast.
Why did you feel the need for a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth?
The 10-year anniversary of the first movie seemed like a good time to come back and tell the audience what’s new. There have been two huge changes in the last decade. Number one: climate-related extreme weather events have become far more serious and frequent, validating the predictions of the scientific community. [We wanted to give] people a visceral understanding of how these changes are affecting people all over the world, including throughout the United States. The scientific community has tremendous credibility, but it turns out Mother Nature is more persuasive than any of us.
The second big change: the solutions are here now. A decade ago they were visible on the horizon, but we had to rely on technology experts to reassure us they were coming. Now the stunning cost reductions for solar electricity, wind electricity, batteries, electric vehicles and hundreds of impressive efficiency improvements are all dramatically improving our ability to reduce emissions and become far more efficient.
We are now in the early stages of a global sustainability revolution, which has the magnitude of the industrial revolution and the speed of the digital revolution. Global emissions have stabilized in the last three years, giving hope that emissions will start reducing significantly very soon, as they have already done in the U.S., Europe and China.
Al Gore Says Climate's Best Hope Lies in Cities and Solar Power, Annie Sneed, Scientific American
Film Review: ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’, Owen Gleiberman, Chief Film Critic, Variety