Friday, 25 May 2018

Question of the Day: 'If Solar Panels Are So Clean, Why Do They Produce So Much Toxic Waste?'


Forbes magazine asks the question more should be asking: "If Solar Panels Are So Clean, Why Do They Produce So Much Toxic Waste?"
The last few years have seen growing concern over what happens to solar panels at the end of their life. Consider the following statements:
  • The problem of solar panel disposal “will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment” because it “is a huge amount of waste and they are not easy to recycle.”
  • “The reality is that there is a problem now, and it’s only going to get larger, expanding as rapidly as the PV industry expanded 10 years ago.”
  • “Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.”
Were these statements made by the right-wing Heritage Foundation? Koch-funded global warming deniers? The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal?
None of the above. Rather, the quotes come from a senior Chinese solar official, a 40-year veteran of the U.S. solar industry, and research scientists with the German Stuttgart Institute for Photovoltaics.
With few environmental journalists willing to report on much of anything other than the good news about renewables, it’s been left to environmental scientists and solar industry leaders to raise the alarm.
“I’ve been working in solar since 1976 and that’s part of my guilt,” the veteran solar developer told Solar Power World last year. “I’ve been involved with millions of solar panels going into the field, and now they’re getting old.” ...
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1 comment:

  1. I would ike to see a straight forward cost/benefit analysis with externalised costs built in. PC taught me what externalised costs are, and I like to throw the expression around.

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