The Tortoise and the Solar Panel

Originally posted May 12, 2020

This week the Department of the Interior approved a $1B project (the Gemini Solar Project) that would provide 690 megawatts of renewable electricity to Nevada. According to E&E News, this would power about 260,000 homes and businesses. This is the renewable future we have all been waiting for, right? Well, maybe not everyone…

Apparently the Nevada-based eco-group, Basin and Range Watch, is quite opposed to the project. Why? The tortoise. According to a fish and wildlife study, the project has the potential to harm some 1,852 Mojave Desert tortoises. Ah, the sweet smell of irony.

What is not covered in this, or any other article we could find, is where the Gemini Project plans on getting the materials necessary (and how much would be necessary) to complete such a large feat.

According to renewable, “[photovoltaic (aka solar panel)] systems contain approximately 5.5 tons per MW of copper.” Since we know this 7000 acre farm is slated to produce ~690 MW of energy, quick math would tell us that the project would need about 3795 TONS of copper. Or about 7.5 M pounds (dropping 90K lbs for potential advancements since 2016 when the article was published). Very interested to see where that copper comes from! [Hint: the answer involves digging and rhymes with “fine”.]

More about the Gemini Project:

More about mined products in renewables:

Here are some feel-good turtle/tortoise memes:

#renewableenergy #solarpanels #mining #mineralsmakelife #copper #greenenergy #ecoextremeism #irony #digbabydig