Fact Check

Have Scientists Discovered That Solar Panels Drain the Sun's Energy?

Published May 25, 2014

Updated Aug. 26, 2022
MUENCHEBERG, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 04:  A worker installs solar panels containing photovoltaic cells at the new Solarpark Eggersdorf solar park on September 4, 2012 near Muencheberg, Germany. The park, which is being built by German solar energy operator juwi Solar GmbH, will contain 85,000 solar modules and is one of many similar projects in eastern Germany. Germany is investing heavily in renewable energy projects, especially solar, wind and biogas ventures, as the country is in the ongoing process of closing down its nuclear energy plants.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) (Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Scientists have discovered that solar panels drain the sun’s energy.

In May 2014, someone alerted Snopes to a purported Facebook post that claimed solar panels drain the sun's energy.

The rumor originated with an article published by the National Report on May 21, 2014, that supposedly announced the alleged discovery by scientists:

This week, a scientific research facility in Wyoming made a startling discovery that is certain to change the way millions of Americans look at the environmentalism movement, after they found conclusive evidence that solar panels not only convert the sun’s energy into usable energy, but that they are also draining the sun of its own energy, possibly with catastrophic consequences far worse than global warming.

Scientists at the Wyoming Institute of Technology, a privately-owned think tank located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, discovered that energy radiated from the sun isn’t merely captured in solar panels, but that energy is directly physically drawn from the sun by those panels, in a process they refer to as 'forced photovoltaic drainage.'

By the following day, links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered the item mistaking it for a genuine news article. However, the article was just a bit of satire from the National Report, a website that publishes outrageous fictional stories, such as “IRS Plans to Target Leprechauns Next,” “Boy Scouts Announce Boobs Merit Badge,” and “New CDC Study Indicates Pets of Gay Couples Worse at Sports, Better at Fashion Than Pets of Straight Couples.”

The National Report‘s (since removed) disclaimer page previously noted that “all news articles contained within National Report are fiction”:

National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.


This article was updated on May 25, 2014.

This article was updated to meet Snopes' current formatting standards on Aug. 26, 2022.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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