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Earth's Got the Goods to Keep Producing Solar Panels

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

A recent study has dispelled concerns about a lack of materials to build the renewable energy infrastructure needed to replace fossil fuels.


The research, which was published in Joule, provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the materials needed for the transition to green energy. The results show that even under the most ambitious scenarios, Earth's geological reserves of key materials like fiberglass, polysilicon, and rare earth metals are more than sufficient.



However, the rate of production or extraction of these resources will need to be significantly increased. The authors also caution that mining these materials will result in emissions, albeit a fraction of what would be produced if we don't switch to renewable power.


The study did not consider batteries, which will play a significant role in future demand. Additionally, experts have raised concerns about the environmental impact of increased mining and the concentration of resources in countries with exploitative labor practices or political tensions. The authors warn that the mining sector will be crucial in supporting the clean energy transition.

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