China has a huge environmental problem they’ll need to deal with soon – they use too many solar panels.
China has more solar panels than any other country, doubling that of the U.S.
Solar panels create a huge amount of waste, but China is continuing to increase their use without deciding what to do with them as they age and break down.
If you thought solar panels were a safe, environmentally friendly energy source, you failed to notice the sulfuric acid and phosphine gas that go into their manufacturing.
Also, you should know about the chromium, cadmium, lead and other heavy (and dangerous) metals that contribute to their hazardous waste, and that their nitrogen trifluoride emissions make carbon dioxide as a climate-changing greenhouse gas look insignificant.
They’re the “go green” alternative, and China needs to figure out how to make their “green” problem go away soon.
Daily Caller reports:
“It will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment, if the estimate is correct,” Tian Min, general manager of a Chinese recycling company, told The South China Morning Post. “This is a huge amount of waste and they are not easy to recycle.”
There could be 20 million metric tons of solar panel waste, or 2,000 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower, by 2050 according to Lu Fang, the secretary general of solar power at the China Renewable Energy Society.
Solar panels use hazardous materials, like sulfuric acid and phosphine gas, in the manufacturing process that makes them hard to recycle. Solar panels also have relatively short operational lifespans and can’t be stored in a landfill without protections against contamination.
Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of electricity generated than nuclear power plants, according to research by the green group Environmental Progress. Solar panels use heavy metals, including lead, chromium and cadmium, which can harm the environment. The hazards of nuclear waste are well known and can be planned for, but very little has been done to mitigate solar waste issues.
It’s no wonder very little has been done to address solar waste. In order to popularize solar energy, guilt needs to be established in everything else that hurts the environment, without glossing over the inconvenient truth that “clean” alternatives aren’t so clean either.
Promoters of electric cars find themselves in a similar predicament, marketing electric cars as “green” while failing to mention increased manufacturing emissions and the staggeringly obvious yet somehow overlooked fact that the electricity used to charge those cars comes from massive coal burning power plants.
When everyone’s trying hard to hide the fact that there’s a problem, it’s tough to get solutions.
Daily Caller reports:
The net impact of solar panels actually temporarily increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, due to how much energy is used in their construction, a study published in December 2016 concluded. The solar industry has been “a temporary net emitter of greenhouse gas emissions,” and more modern solar panels have a smaller adverse environmental impact than older models. Scientists estimated that by 2018 at the latest, the solar industry as a whole could have a net positive environmental impact.
Federal data suggests that building solar panels significantly increases emissions of the potent greenhouse gas nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), which is 17,200 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas over a 100 year time period. NF3 emissions have increased by 1,057 percent over the last 25 years. In comparison, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions only rose by about 5 percent during the same time period.
Be sure to let us know what you think of this nasty environmental mess, and leave a comment in the section below.