Solar Now Produces a Better Energy Return on Investment Than Oil

(I expect this author has to fend off the illogical arguments of “Watts Up With That” fans on a regular basis, but I like his work.)


The future is not good for oil, no matter which way you look at it. — Motherboard


Solar — it’s not just a clean power source producing zero emissions and almost no local water impact, it’s also now one of the best choices on the basis of how much energy you get back for your investment. And with climate change impacts rising, solar’s further potential to take some of the edge off the harm that’s coming down the pipe makes speeding its adoption a clear no-brainer.

In 2016, according to a trends analysis based on this report by the Royal Society of London, the energy return on energy investment (EROEI) for oil appears to have fallen below a ratio of 15 to 1 globally. In places like the United States, where extraction efforts increasingly rely on unconventional techniques like fracking, that EROEI has fallen to 10 or…

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7 responses to “Solar Now Produces a Better Energy Return on Investment Than Oil

  1. Its hard to know what to believe with so much propoganda behind big oil and big green, but for what its worth I hope these findings are legit.

    • Since the article is about relative cost of comparative tech, it sidesteps the politicized argument about climate change. There’s never been a doubt that solar is cleaner than fossil fuels. The argument against it was that it costs too much to build, and financial resources are always limited.

  2. Solar collectors in a piece of paper can now charge a cell phone. Put these collectors in roof shingles and connect each, yea, to run the A.C.! The waste of roof energy is unbelievable, beginning with all that heat. Every house already has a roof, and shingles must be laid. mmcdonald77/inventions. Next, we’ll talk rain barrels and My uncle’s 1200 water bill to water his grass…in Michigan!

    • There are so many innovations available I’m not used to thinking about. Thanks!

      • Take these ideas and make money, and shoot me a %. I am too broke to do anything, with layers of debt, etc. I have 7 rainwater collectors for Flint, but we need to test the rainwater and get a good filter, maybe graphite, a new invention out in Calif. But they keep trying to filter the lead out after the rain goes down the dirty river and through the dirty pipes.

        • I’m one of those retired “takers” demagogues speak of, so I no longer do anything to make money. But it’s still a cool idea. I hope someone develops and uses it.

          If you remain so adaptive, I believe at some point you will innovate yourself out of the hole. I didn’t get debt-free until I was in my fifties. In my case it was caused by falling for the idea one should buy “as much house as you can possibly afford”, a popular materialist misconception among boomers.

          Eventually I realized if you only buy “as little house as you actually need”, you expand your menu of available options to do everything else.

  3. CW

    The free market is always inclined in favor of that which provides the best ROI, so if the technology and manufacturing of solar products has been sufficiently refined to make it a more financially attractive alternative to oil, that’s great for the consumer. That said, I’d be interested to see a comprehensive study that shows how much (if any) the investment side of the equation has been skewed by costly over-regulation on oil production and whether any forced taxpayer subsidies on solar research were factored into the investment on the solar side. The truth is all that matters.

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