Building on insights from ecological economics and philosophy of technology, this book offers a novel, interdisciplinary approach to understand the contradictory nature of Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is rapidly emerging as a cost-effective option in the world economy. However, reports about miserable working conditions, environmentally deleterious mineral extraction and toxic waste dumps corrode the image of a problem-free future based on solar power. Against this backdrop, Andreas Roos explores whether ‘ecologically unequal exchange’ – an asymmetric transfer of labour time and natural resources – is a necessary condition for solar PV development. He demonstrates how the massive increase in solar PV installation over recent years would not have been possible without significant wage/price differences in the world economy – notably between Europe/North America and Asia- and concludes that solar PV development is currently contingent on environmental injustices in the world economy. As a solution, Roos argues that solar technology is best coupled with strategies for degrowth, which allow for a transition away from fossil fuels and towards a socially just and ecologically sustainable future.
This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of solar power, philosophy of technology, and environmental justice.
About the Author
Andreas Roos is an interdisciplinary scholar with a doctoral degree in the field of human ecology. His work draws from ecological economics, environmental history and philosophy of technology to understand the contentious relation between technology and ecology. Roos’s most recent work focuses on assessing the potential of renewable energy technologies to transform modern human-environmental relations. Publishing in top ranking journals, Roos’s other contributions include ecological perspectives on the digital economy and the possibilities for commons-based energy technology.