I’ve heard it said that it takes more energy to create a solar panel than the panel will produce in its lifetime. That’s absurd! Here are some facts:
A 100 watt solar panel can produce about 400-watt hours on a sunny day.
In one year, that single panel can produce about 146 killowatt hours.
The life expectancy of a solar panel is more than 20 years. In 20 years, that single panel can produce almost 3 thousand kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to prevent 6,600 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Source: National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL). Keep in mind however that these figures are for a solar panel that is in service everyday, used to its capacity. An underused panel, one on an RV that is only used a few weeks each year for example, will not measure up over its lifetime.
And, for the benefit of anyone still skeptical, consider this:
It’s better to use fossil fuel to manufacture a solar panel than to just burn it, and still have the problem.