Solar power, the poster child for green energy, has a dark past.
For more than a decade, global solar panel manufacturing has used more electricity than the final products have generated. With most of the shortfall coming from burning fossil fuels, solar power may have added to the very problem it was meant to solve.
That situation now looks set to change. According to Michael Dale and Sally Benson of Stanford University, 2012 likely saw the world’s solar photovoltaic (PV) panels become net electricity generators for the first time (Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, doi.org/k5x).