Solar PV Panels Unsustainable & Can Cause Cancer

Should you squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle or from the end?
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ThisDinosaur
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Solar PV Panels Unsustainable & Can Cause Cancer

Post by ThisDinosaur » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:51 pm

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshe ... 76cdab121c

A few months of rainwater can rinse the carcinogenic Cadmium out of your rooftop PV panels and into your lawn, garden, groundwater.

Also, there's no known economical way to recycle panels. So there's another post-peak-oil, finite resource, energy crisis on the distant horizon.

Our species was really spoiled with this whole electricity thing for a few centuries.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: Solar PV Panels Unsustainable & Can Cause Cancer

Post by Kriegsspiel » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:00 pm

Luckily fusion is on the near horizon, only 30 more years!

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C40
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Re: Solar PV Panels Unsustainable & Can Cause Cancer

Post by C40 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:48 pm

Well, I guess all the bad chemicals leaked out of my solar panels a couple years ago and now they are good and clean.... Right??

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Solar PV Panels Unsustainable & Can Cause Cancer

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:33 pm

Clean as a whistle!

fell-like-rain
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Re: Solar PV Panels Unsustainable & Can Cause Cancer

Post by fell-like-rain » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:39 pm

It says lead and cadmium can be washed out of the fragments of solar modules. So only if your panels got trashed by a major storm or something. And all it says is 'carcinogenic'. Coffee is carcinogenic. Without any info about exposure levels or the genotoxicity of cadmium, it's pretty irresponsible to claim solar panels can give you cancer- the waste problem is real, but there's no need to be alarmist.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Solar PV Panels Unsustainable & Can Cause Cancer

Post by ThisDinosaur » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:46 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:33 pm
Clean as a whistle!
Where can I find the rest of that set? Was it recorded?

Derailed already...

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Solar PV Panels Unsustainable & Can Cause Cancer

Post by ThisDinosaur » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:48 pm

@fell-like-rain
True. But if you live in a sunny, hurricane-prone area, you will likely end up with broken panels at some point.

Lucky C
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Re: Solar PV Panels Unsustainable & Can Cause Cancer

Post by Lucky C » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:51 am

This is a big misunderstanding. As fell-like-rain says the toxic elements would be contained within the panels unless destroyed. They are not washing onto our lawns and gardens.
Solar panels often contain lead, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals that cannot be removed without breaking apart the entire panel.
So your property is safe from contamination unless you or the Mother Nature break apart your solar panels.

Even if they're unsustainable, surely they can help us transition as a more appealing alternative to a fast crash Mad Max scenario. They also have the whole small-scale and off-grid appeal, while wind turbines keep getting bigger with specialized tech and technicians required to make and maintain them - hard to keep a 500 ft turbine going if the system collapses vs. rooftop solar systems. Hopefully there will be a good recycling solution in the near future.


ZAFCorrection
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Re: Solar PV Panels Unsustainable & Can Cause Cancer

Post by ZAFCorrection » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:02 pm

I'm pretty skeptical of part of the third point. I've worked with CdTe and it is a stable compound that is by itself not particularly toxic/reactive. Additionally, a standard CdTe PV cell has maybe 3 microns of actual CdTe, which could be further reduced by properly engineering the reflectivity of the back contact of the device. That's on the order of 10 mg of Cd per cell assuming you managed to completely dissociate the compound.

Note that elemental chlorine is an extremely strong oxidizing agent and elemental sodium is an extremely strong reducing agent, but no EHS department cares about table salt. Phosphorous is also a necessary nutrient, and yet a surprising number of simple phosphorous-containing compounds have a tendency to form phosphine gas (=extremely toxic) under commonly-occurring conditions. The chemical environment of a species is much more important to its toxicity than the species itself.

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