2015-03-04 11:34:35 -0500
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This is definitely false. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, depending on the technology, the energy payback period for a rooftop solar system is 1-5 years.
There are lots of factors that influence a solar system's energy payback period, but the main ones are the energy used in manufacture of components, how far those components needed to be shipped and where the panels are put into operation (e.g. if the system is in a sunny spot like Arizona, the payback time will be shorter).
Another thing to consider is what the electricity carbon emissions benchmark is in the place you plan to have the panels installed. If you live somewhere where coal is the primary source of electricity, there's no question that going solar will result in a net reduction in CO2 emissions. (Lindsay Wilson at the Energy Collective put together an interesting piece on the topic based on an academic paper. It's well worth a read.)