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Greener Green Energy: Today's solar cells give more than they take

Solar power produces, per unit of energy, only about one-tenth as much carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions as does conventional power generation, a new study shows.

Solar panels don't release harmful gases during use, but making the solar cells does consume materials and energy—mainly from conventional power sources such as coal-fired power plants, which in turn produce emissions. Industrial techniques for making glass and other materials in solar panels also produce gases such as carbon dioxide.

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