This has drifted well off topic, we must drive Chris nuts some times, but I will wrap up my thoughts.
In Manitoba we actually have quite high solar and wind potential, what we don’t have is any public subsidy for their use. It seems subsidies skew opinion on EROEI. Apart from claims I don’t see PV dramatically altering the energy landscape anywhere yet, any more than we see ethanol sweeping aside petroleum or even sustaining it’s own production. Tesla has very deep pockets and mostly operates at a loss. In time we will see if they have a game changer. The massive solar thermal concentrating arrays such as in Spain do appear to produce significant energy gains, as you point out,1,000 watts per square meter is a very attractive source of power.
I don’t mean to make chicken or egg scenarios, what I am trying to point out is that we are so accustomed to nearly free external energy inputs into all our products that we have lost touch with what the total energy budget means, and where it would all come from without fossil fuels.
I don’t consider wood gas as similarly burdened, as it is more like a typical FF system, taking an energy dense natural bonanza and extracting obvious surplus energy. A couple of gallons of chainsaw gas will heat a home for a winter.
But if a person wants to absolutely account for energy inputs, it’s far more severe regarding vehicles and our entire lifestyle. If you had to use wood charcoal for industrial steel smelting, steel production would probably be 1% of present levels. Obviously cost in such a full accounting would be extremely prohibitive. In Europe prior to exploitation of coal the entire landscape was exploited to the level of the solar maximum. Since then the population has tripled, and individual energy consumption has probably multiplied by 10. The model of life we have developed with FF will not sustain, I doubt it is safe to try to emulate it.
Regarding panel longevity, they tend to be bigger and thinner than windows, and set at an angle, which should make them susceptible to hail and other storm damage. Over decades I think that is significant. Also the electrical connections etc all have to perform to an exceptional standard to get the lives they hope for.
For renewables to be significant in our energy civilization we will need at least 4 - 5 times the electrical grid, and I see no signs of that happening yet either. In order to effect such revolutionary change would require government re-engineering of countries from the ground up, starting with transportation and the practical end of the personal vehicle.