How It Started Vs. How It’s Going: Wyoming’s Toxic Solar Panel Problem
First, we found out that used wind turbine blades were being buried in Natrona County Wyoming because, oddly enough, many parts of renewable energy can't be renewed. Though some companies are trying to figure out how to reuse those turbines.
Now it turns out nobody knows how to handle toxic solar panels.
Wind turbine blades have a short life span. Solar panels last about the same amount of time, 20 years or so, and then they are done.
When the panels do hit their end, the chemicals within the glass are a concern, said Andy Frey, superintendent of operations for Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District. (Cowboy State Daily).
'Solar panels are unique in comparison to other electronic waste,' said Frey. 'There are very few facilities within the United States that will take them and deconstruct them.'
Solar panels contain Arsenic, selenium and cadmium.
Solar panels from that era have a life span of roughly 20 years, according to industry experts, but multiple solid waste authorities in Wyoming told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday they’re not yet seeing dead panels at their gates.
But that will happen at some point and, frankly, many landfills do not want to deal with them.
Let's add to this that wind and solar need battery farms to operate.
Those farms take the uneven power provided by wind and solar and store it so it can be evenly drawn into the grid.
Those farms also store energy for when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shinning.
But those batteries are toxic to mine for, to extract, to produce, and to dispose of.
We were closing down coal and gas plants, we are told, for something "green" that will "save the planet."
Will someone please explain to me how these things are clean, green, sustainable, renewable, and good for the planet?
I'm still trying to figure that out.