Solar panels are generally among the most popular solutions to combat pollution and the climate crisis. But in California, solar panels unfortunately fill landfills, and they are even dangerous sources of toxic products.
With more than 1.3 million rooftops covered in solar panels, California is a pioneer and champion in promoting solar energy. Unfortunately, there is a flip side to the coin. As the campaign on the use of renewable energies began around 2006 in this American state, many devices used in this direction are now reaching the end of their life of around 25 years. Since they are no longer usable, these obsolete solar panels are simply thrown in the trash and end up in the public landfills.
What’s worse is that these landfill-filling solar panels have potential toxicinsofar as they contain heavy metals such as selenium and the cadmium. Note that these substances can contaminate groundwater. ” People just don’t realize that there are toxic materials in these electronic devices. Once they are crushed and landfilled, many of these toxic chemicals and materials seep into groundwater. said Natalie Click, a materials science doctoral student studying the issue, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
Luckily, this is not an unsolvable problem, as there are various solutions that could make it possible to recycle solar panels, although they are quite complex. This finding in California also provides good lessons for all new renewable energy installations with a use-by date.