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California landfills are filling up with used solar panels

California has been a pioneer in pushing for rooftop solar power, building up the largest solar market in the U.S. More than 20 years and 1.3 million rooftops later, the bill is coming due. Beginning in 2006, the state, focused on how to incentivize people to take up solar power, showered subsidies on homeowners who installed photovoltaic panels but had no comprehensive plan to dispose of them. Now, panels purchased under those programs are nearing the end of their typical 25-to-30-year life cycle. Special attention is given to panels containing toxic materials, that are routed for disposal to landfills with extra safeguards against leakage, and specifically panels containing cadmium and selenium are primarily used in utility-grade applications. But this is not just a problem in California but also nationwide. A new solar project was installed every 60 seconds in 2021, according to a fact sheet published by the Solar Energy Industries Assn., and the solar industry is expected to quadruple in size between 2020 and 2030. Although 80% of a typical photovoltaic panel is made of recyclable materials, disassembling them and recovering the glass, silver and silicon is extremely difficult. Click to read more, article from the Los Angeles Times.


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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