The energy needed to manufacture the heavy equipment that did the mining?
The energy needed to construct the factory that produced the panel?
A BUSINESS MAY HAVE high gross receipts and still go broke; it is the net, the profit after costs are subtracted, that determines viability.
For any potential energy resource, the fundamentals are the same.
For example, when tallying the energy required to build a solar photovoltaic panel, what should be included in the accounting?
With coal-derived electricity, the calculation would include the life cycle from mine to power plant to electric grid.Where the boundaries are drawn affects the final net energy ratios.A society that depends on inexpensive energy to maintain a high standard of living and constant growth faces a predicament—it cannot maintain itself over the long run without high net energy fuels.Oil, natural gas, and coal have provided a huge, high-quality energy subsidy to the modern world.That subsidy, which has enabled human population and wealth to grow exponentially, is based on finite resources and cannot continue indefinitely.