Infographic: What if Fukushima had Leaked Solar Panels?

posted by Shannon on April 14th, 2011

Infographic: What if Fukushima Had Leaked Solar Panels?

Infographic: The Hidden Cost of Gadgets

Ok, so these days, in developed countries like the United States, the average household has about 35 electrical appliances. The average annual cost of using these appliances is about $1,100 and if you live in a state where electricity is expensive*, that annual price tag goes up to about $1,600 a year.  In five years, you’ll pay somewhere between $1300 and $1900 a year to use your fleet of devices, and that’s only if you don’t buy anything new to plug in between now and then.
Not likely. Analysts say the small electrical appliances market is still growing like gangbusters . Baby boomers are moving to the South and Southwest where houses are big and air conditioning use is high. The electric car market alone is expected to present a significant new draw on the grid nation-wide. All good for the economy, right? There are just a few problems. For one, in the U.S., grid power is fired primarily by dirty fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, so any increased pull on the grid means more CO2 and particulate matter in the air. The other is that utilities are raising their prices, on average, by six percent every year.
The question, then, is this: as the average houshold’s energy needs increase, will people be willing to pay a higher and higher percentage of their income to utility companies every year? Or, will they reach a tipping point where they see their own roofs and yeard as a way to reduce or even eliminate this growing annual spend?
*California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Alaska, or Deleware.


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9 Responses to “Infographic: What if Fukushima had Leaked Solar Panels?”

  1. Art Scott says:

    If you draw a picture for RepubliDems can they understand it? Or are they blinded by corruption M O N E Y from BIG OIL NUKE COAL?

  2. Christof Demont-Heinrich says:

    How about a graphic that shows what we could have done in the U.S. if the $1 trillion plus poured into the Iraq war had gone to renewable energy development instead?

  3. Walter E. Andrews says:

    Excellent analysis and projection. You don’t need to be a nuclear scientist to comprehend this blog.

  4. Sarah Frederick says:

    Nice graphic and blog for homeowners.

  5. Eric Sheppard says:

    Solar energy is an excellent source to use, it’s just terribly inefficient as of this time. As such, I disagree in how negatively this article paints nuclear power. Nuclear energy has, for a long time been seen as highly dangerous. But that is not true, at least not with today’s technology. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island were accidents cause by reactors that today would be almost half a century old; their technology was ancient compared to today. As well, building nuclear reactors in places susceptible to large natural disasters (such as Japan) also contributes to it being “unsafe” even though for the magnitude of the Japan earthquake, the nuclear reactors really showed how resilient and safe they actually are. As an example, Wisconsin currently has 2 nuclear reactors running along it’s eastern Shore, in Kewaunee and Point Beach. Those two alone generate 20% of the state’s power, as compared to the thirty other Coal/Natural Gas/Petroleum plants that generate 60% (20% of power is imported from other states). They have been running for over 40 years, without a single accident in that entire stretch of time. It’s also incredibly efficient for the resources you put into it; if the price per barrel of oil were at about 40USD, it would cost roughly the same to run a nuclear plant. Currently they are at just under 100USD.
    Ever heard of a nuclear accident in France? What if I told you the French had 58 reactors within it’s borders generating 80% of it’s total power and that Paris, the city of lights, was run entirely on nuclear power? France has the cleanest air of any European country, as well as the lowest electrical bills, by far. All because of it’s use of nuclear energy. (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/06/60minutes/main2655782.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody) The United States as well has 103 nuclear plants in operation today (bet you didn’t know that) generating 20% of it’s power and it’s been 28 years since the Three Mile Island Incident. As well, there has never been a radiation-related death because of the commercial nuclear sector of the United States, whether directly or indirectly.
    It should also be stated that many households do not want giant solar panels on their private homes or to pay for the price of purchasing and installing them (they would not be free, despite what this graphic hints at). Also, where would the energy for the rest of the 85% of Japanese households have come from, which does not include all the industrial and commercial power consumption conveniently not included in this graphic. Solar energy is just not an economically feasible solution to our energy needs at this time. With that 152 billion spent, a dozen or more nuclear reactors could be built, which would power many, many more than 15% of homes and would be overwhelmingly safe with today’s technology and with the new information gathered on how to prevent further earthquake damage to nuclear plants that is sure to come because I can guarantee you that there are engineers studying this “disaster” and learning vast amounts from it. You don’t learn from success, you learn from mistakes and what to do better the next time.
    Please, think for yourselves and do some research. The guy with the flashy graphics is not always correct. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power)
    Besides, why focus on how to *make* power, when you could focus on how to *save* power. (http://students.arch.utah.edu/courses/Arch4011/Recycling%20Facts1.pdf)

  6. Thomas Shook says:

    mmmm all that inorganic arsenic would just be wonderful. semiconductors are not that green. how much carbon is released while making them? how many years before you offset the carbon foot print for building the solar panels in the first place. do the panels even last that long?

  7. Ben Sherry says:

    noone would have noticed because solar panels don’t do shit for the grid……still a few breakthroughs short or being worth it

  8. Jacob Pope says:

    If Japan had not built the nuclear reactors it would probably be a developing nation since they could afford no other source of power in the 1960′s-70′s, which would then have made the earthquake much more devastating for them today. And then we wouldn’t be talking about how ‘evil’ these non-ecofriendly reactors are but rather how to feed a now crippled and starving nation with many more deaths than we see today.

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Infographic: What if Fukushima had Leaked Solar Panels?

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