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A Simple Argument for Solar Power vs Coal Power

Avatar for Tor "Solar Fred" Valenza
Published on 11/20/2009 in
Updated 12/18/2015


Be honest. If you were this little stinker here….

And you could choose your power source for the next 80 years of your precious life…

Hmm…. Energy.               Photo:Flickr/TedsBlog

Which would make you plotz in your diapers thinking about the world’s future air quality?…


Minnesota Coal Fired Power Plant Photo:Flickr/heyyu1021

…or Solar?


Photo: From Solar Fred

Please get a quote in your area and see if solar is affordable for you. Solar quotes are always free, so unlike the coal and oil lobby… couldn’t hurt.

Last modified: December 18, 2015

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Download AnnaliseTor a.k.a. "Solar Fred"Jay Turberville3phaseChristof Recent comment authors
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Download Annalise
Download Annalise

At least 4 or 5 hundred visitors at your weblog now, nice results for single website.

Jay Turberville
Jay Turberville

Advocacy is no excuse for emotion based arguments and distortions. In fact, the desire to advocate is a very good reason not to engage in that kind of argument. This page may present a simple argument, but it doesn’t present a good one.

Dave Llorens

Jay, thanks for commenting, but I disagree. There’s so much information, we need simple arguments, and despite the photo (and this long string of comments regarding it) coal pollutes and poisons the air. Solar does not. Even “clean coal” will still put mercury and other poisons in the air for us and our children to breathe. Solar also doesn’t rape mountains of trees and wildlife like mountain top removal, and it doesn’t produce an endless supply of poisonous sludge that can decimate an entire community with an accident. Pictures are said to speak a 1000 words, and I think these… Read more »


If I hear an oppinion that is blatenly biased and one sided the weight of that oppinion means less to me than an objective well balanced argument. I thought the same thing as Joe even before reading his comment. As for the steam… The stacks with steam ejected from the top are cleaner than those without. (smoke stakes not cooling towers) The hot flume gas from the boiler mixes with a lime slurry to chemically react with the SO2 to create an inert substance and thereby clean emmissions. The water vapor is from the lime slurry being heated by the… Read more »


I disagree that the pictures decrease the web site’s credibility. This is an advocacy web site — much like my own web site. While advocacy web sites ought to be committed to accurate and truthful accounts of that for which they advocate, in this case solar (and SolarPowerRocks.Com, clearly is commited to this), they are not required to be USA Today, CNN, etc. In fact, grassroots advocacy web sites exist in large part because the so-called “objective” mainstream media’s coverage is clearly tilted toward large corporations, and powerful industries such as the coal industry. Study after study in media studies… Read more »

Joe Gorberg
Joe Gorberg

I’m disappointed in your representation and comparison for the pictures between solar and coal. First off, I’m 100% supportive of solar generation. However, the plume in the coal picture is steam- water vapor from the cooling tower, not the “smoke stacks” emitting pollutants. You guys put out good information on solar. This kind of reporting just decreases your credibility.

Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred"
Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred"

Joe, you’re right, but I couldn’t find a dramatic photo that I could use with a creative commons license to show just the black stuff. Nevertheless, even this steam does environmental damage. According to Wikipedia, which I know can be inaccurate, but this seems well written and thoughtful: This is from “cooling tower.” “The circulation rate of cooling water in a typical 700 MW coal-fired power plant with a cooling tower amounts to about 71,600 cubic metres an hour (315,000 U.S. gallons per minute)[2] and the circulating water requires a supply water make-up rate of perhaps 5 percent (i.e., 3,600… Read more »


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