Solar panels were meant to be all sunshine and lollipops, with nothing but tingly virtuous feelings for their subsidised owners. With an effective economic lifespan of little more than a decade – after 12 years in service their output is nothing like their original capacity and at the 15-year mark, it becomes a pointless fraction, especially if they’re not cleaned on a very regular basis. Which is the reason why millions of panels are already being crushed and dumped in landfills, with millions more to follow.
Got a landfill in your neighbourhood? Well it’s probably time to do some homework and what is being dumped there.
Solar panels are a veritable toxic cocktail of gallium arsenide, tellurium, silver, crystalline silicon, lead, cadmium and other heavy metals. Ground up and dumped in their millions into landfills, it’s not difficult to imagine the effect on water supplies, the environment and human health as their poisonous entrails leach into the water table over the coming centuries.
John Droz helps rain on the ‘solar can do no wrong’ parade, below.
13 December 2022
Part 1 – Summary of Solar Energy Concerns
Let’s step back, put aside the marketing hype, and look at some of the key consequences of promoting and subsidizing industrial solar energy:
- Solar projects rarely have meaningful state rules or regulations to abide by (note: a similar situation also exists for another current political favorite: wind energy);
- Solar lobbyists often attempt to further handicap local communities from enacting meaningful regulations, by advocating an expedited approval process;
- Solar projects require 100% backup, so we must pay for twice the energy sources;
- Solar projects require 100% backup, which is typically from gas, so that needs to be factored in when discussing cost, environmental impact, CO2 reduction, etc.;
- Solar facilities are likely a net energy sink (e.g., see this study);
- When a comprehensive and objective financial analysis is done, solar is 5x± the cost of conventional electrical energy sources (e.g., here, here, here, here & here);
- Despite states shelling out Billions of dollars to benefit the solar industry, no scientific, thorough, objective studies have shown that solar is a net benefit. See this 2021 Study: Built Solar Facilities are Chronically Underperforming;
- Solar has a high potential for substantial environmental harm, like polluting
aquifers with carcinogens (e.g., here, here, here, here and here) [also see Part 2];
- Solar will likely reduce nearby home values (e.g., here, here, and here);
- Solar can take prime farmland out of production (e.g., here), which results in loss of jobs, loss of farm equipment & supplies sold, and a loss of consumer produce;
- Solar facilities with batteries can be a major hazard (e.g., here and here);
- Solar facilities can be problematic to nearby airports (e.g., FAA, study and study);
- Solar results in an enormous toxic disposal problem for the state (e.g., here, here, here, and here) — who will pay for that and where are the state rules about this?
- Solar has no scientifically-proven consequential net reduction of climate change! In fact, some studies (e.g., here, here, here, here, here and here) conclude that there’s good evidence that solar facilities make climate change worse; and
- Going solar likely benefits Communist China (e.g., here here, and here).’
Some additional sample relevant information about solar energy:
Part 2 – Solar Panel Toxicity Overview
When potential solar project host communities ask solar developers what toxic materials are in their solar panels, they typically say that they are not aware of any.
Although that may seem evasive, it may be an accurate response as:
- most solar panels come from China,
- China does not have anywhere near the environmental concern that we do, and
- Chinese suppliers are unlikely to divulge negative information about their products.
The takeaway is: buyer beware. In other words, potential host communities for industrial solar facilities should be aware of what we do know — and then act accordingly to fully protect their community.
So what DO we know? We know that these are some of the toxic (some carcinogenic) chemicals that have been identified as likely being in solar panels (click on the links to get an idea of what some of the adverse health consequences are):
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAs) (also see here and here)
Perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS)
Fluorinated Ethylene (FEP)
Copper Indium Selenide
Cadmium Gallium diselenide
Copper Indium Gallium diselenide
Also, here is a basic explanation of the silicon manufacturing part of solar panels. The following are some additional toxic chemicals that have been identified as possibly being involved in the fabrication of solar panels, which might end up in the finished product:
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Now that they have been alerted to the severity of the solar panel toxicity issue, what do conscientious states and communities do to protect their citizens and eco-systems from these life-threatening chemicals?
With solar, there are two major concerns with these toxic materials:
- Over the 20± year estimated life of solar panels, how do states and local communities make sure that these chemicals will not migrate from solar panels into soils and local aquifers? and
- How will solar panels with these materials be safely disposed of at the end of their useful life, and who will pay for it?(Note: these panels will not biodegrade, plus it is extremely difficult to recycle very much of these panels.)
The answers to both questions should primarily be found in state laws, and secondarily in local ordinances.
It is unconscionable to have state legislators mandate solar projects (e.g., via Renewable Portfolio Standards [RPS] legislation), yet not likewise pass accompanying appropriate legislation to protect their citizens (and environment) from the well-documented toxic threats that can result from their RPS.
Additionally, for state legislators to throw the responsibility of protecting citizens and the environment onto the backs of local representatives, is beyond unreasonable. In North Carolina, for example, what sense does it make to require that a hundred counties must get educated on the impacts of these toxic materials, and then write (and pass) a hundred local ordinances that try to address that threat to their communities?
via STOP THESE THINGS
January 20, 2023 at 12:31AM