Embedded Environmental Costs

What are embedded environmental costs?

Solar power's detractors frequently describe solar as "secretly" non-environmentally-friendly. They point to the PV module manufacturing process, utility-scale arrays' potential impacts to land and wildlife, and concentrating solar power (CSP) plants' on-site water usage as examples of attributes that negate the environmental benefits of deploying this renewable energy source.

But when all of the impacts are considered and all the costs are tallied, how does solar compare to other common energy sources? A new report called "The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels" suggests that the indirect or externalized costs of fossil fuels, nuclear power and biomass still outweigh those of solar power.

(Source).  Still, solar panels produce a lot of hazardous waste which must be factored into utilitarian calculations in assessing solar's net contribution to a cleaner environment.

A notable point about rooftop Solar PV systems like mine:  "Although distributed-generation rooftop PV occupies no land, some utility-scale plants have caused concern regarding their impact on threatened species' habitat, the report notes."  (Source).

But I don't understand this:  "Not surprisingly, PV ranks ahead of CSP in the water-usage category. Lifetime water withdrawals for PV are estimated to be between 225 and 520 gallons/MWh, with thin film generally beating out crystalline silicon."  (Source).  My array consumes no water, except maybe 30 gallons every March when I spray pollen off my panels.