What is the embodied carbon footprint of a solar panel?

Q: Can you discuss the embodied energy and natural resource use of the active systems, such as solar panels, that are necessary to achieve a “net zero” status? 

A: The embodied carbon footprint of solar panels (i.e., the carbon dioxide released by making the panel) is about equal to 18 months worth of the carbon footprint avoided by generating zero carbon electricity. So, from a carbon footprint  perspective, you can think of the solar panel paying for itself in about 18 months. Financially, ours will pay for themselves in about 6 years.