July 08, 2017

The dirty side of “clean” energy: More solar panels now means toxic landslide later

Holly NicholasRebel Commentator

According to a report completed by Environmental Progress, we may have a looming problem on our hands if we don’t find a cost-effective and environmentally safe solution to the problem of recycling old solar panels. 

Solar panels require lead, chromium and cadmium and use harsh chemicals like sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid in their production, and many of these components are considered to be toxic waste.

The report also suggests that what has happened in Japan, where their government began providing a “feed-in” tariff in 2012 that incentivized more energy from renewable sources, should be a warning for us.

Sound familiar? The same scenario is starting to crop up across North America.

Meanwhile, Japan predicts solar panel waste will be at 10K tons by 2020 which Toshiba Environmental Solutions says would take 19 years to process based on the current capacity to recycle only 44 tons of solar panels per month.

Recycling solar panels isn’t very profitable since the demand for dismantled materials is low and the labour required, is expensive.

Most solar panels last about 20 to 30 years and installing them residentially is a relatively new process that regular households in North America have already gone through with or are thinking about.

But what’s not being thought about is how to mitigate the toxic landslide that will be upon us once these panels start to conk out.

These “green” solutions aren’t really very green at all and since it’s a highly subsidized industry encouraged by the government, they’re not likely to tell us about these potential problems, are they?

We shouldn’t be against viable ways to clean up real pollution, especially those that don’t require taxpayer funds and don’t require us to demonize the oil and gas industry.

But we should be skeptical of these “green” sources that governments use to promote their own agenda.

When you look closer, you'll often find there’s another side to the story they’re not telling us about.

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2017-07-10 23:13:25 -0400
Andrew; No, “we’re” not opposed to it. You’re speaking for dippers.
commented 2017-07-10 21:30:05 -0400
Andrew your peers hate natural gas as well and they oppose pipelines to get it anywhere, how can it be utilized?
commented 2017-07-10 11:43:17 -0400
“Leviticus 2013 commented 12 hours ago
Andrew “short eyes” Stevenson said..
“Actually, we’re opposed to that because it cost 1.5 billion dollars to retrofit a single 250 MW generator set,”
I’m curious to who the referencing is to with the “we” in your statement… You got a mouse in your pocket or something.??”
Saskatchewan taxpayers. 1.5 billion dollars is over 1200 dollars per. For the same price they could have replaced every single coal generator with natural gas, halving total emissions.

“Peter Netterville commented 13 hours ago
“You know … real technology for real problems, not spending the money on reducing CO2. That is all a hogwash load of crap scam and you push it like the mindless willing lemming follower you are. "
How did those problems come about, exactly? Oh, that’s right, people in the past thought they weren’t real problems, and it was just ok to toss hazardous waste willy-nilly into the ground. It’s not either-or, and manufacturers make the exact same argument about onerous environmental regulations and economic growth as the Deniers do about GHG emissions.
commented 2017-07-10 08:54:49 -0400
Here in Ontario, we will have fields of solar panel garbage to contend with, side yards too, and, rooftops, thanks to Libs…. Andrew and company, will you be cleaning this up?
commented 2017-07-10 08:52:16 -0400
Andrew Stephenson, I was wondering about your “we” statement as well. Is your personality not fully integrated?
commented 2017-07-10 01:21:10 -0400
Peter Netterville you got that right, nothing in it for the eco kooks, so they attack what they should embrace, proves their hypocrisy.
commented 2017-07-10 01:20:17 -0400
Andrew Stephenson Ontario’s green idiocy has cost much more than that and cost the people much more , now you whine about something that might actually work to a certain extent, how balanced you are.
commented 2017-07-10 01:19:05 -0400
Andrew Stephenson solar has been in development for many decades, exactly when does it come to fruition? It has been proven good for small power applications , but never for large needs.
commented 2017-07-09 23:11:03 -0400
Andrew “short eyes” Stevenson said..
“Actually, we’re opposed to that because it cost 1.5 billion dollars to retrofit a single 250 MW generator set,”
I’m curious to who the referencing is to with the “we” in your statement… You got a mouse in your pocket or something.??
commented 2017-07-09 22:17:24 -0400
Andrew, the price is high because it is the first of its kind. But it is not erratic and unreliable as you claim.

The eco-freaks are against it because Brad Wall is applying the cash to real technology and the eco-nuts hate that. It is never and has never been about the environment. It is all about lining pockets with tax money. Nothing more, nothing less. And you, Andrew, are a willing idiot who has bought into the scam.

The billions should be going into infrastructure that can mitigate the effects of climate events, such as floods.

And into technology to:
- recycle product waste more efficiently
– into technology to clean up the excessive amount of land fill sites
– toxic waste dumps clean up
– sewage treatment plants for those still dumping raw sewage into rivers and oceans
– industrial air filtration systems for factories and other industrial plantations.
– and the list can go on.

You know … real technology for real problems, not spending the money on reducing CO2. That is all a hogwash load of crap scam and you push it like the mindless willing lemming follower you are.

Solar panel and wind turbines will never be effective replacements for the society’s energy needs. Never.

Now fusion (not fission). That is an upcoming technology that is worth developing.
commented 2017-07-09 21:54:01 -0400
Actually, we’re opposed to that because it cost 1.5 billion dollars to retrofit a single 250 MW generator set, and that set is erratic and unreliable. Further, they’ve actually had to pay penalties for failing to deliver the carbon they were contractually supposed to deliver, a cost borne by taxpayers who are now faced with double digit rate hikes in what is already some of the most expensive electricity in Canada.

Unless you’re apologetic for boondoggles, because “conservative”?
commented 2017-07-09 18:59:56 -0400
True that Peter..
It’s all about how they look in front of the mirror.!!
commented 2017-07-09 18:42:20 -0400
Levi, the eco-freaks even oppose the Saskatchewan carbon capture project. I think it is because it is a Conservative, Brad Wall, that initiated the project. To the eco-freaks its all about morally preening activism and has nothing to do with saving the environment.
commented 2017-07-09 18:14:59 -0400
Saskatchewan has been working extensively on the carbon capture technique and what they’ve done with the excess carbon is pipe it down existing depleted oil wells… After several years of doing this they have found that nonproductive wells have been rejuvenated and are now producing once again with positive cash oil flow… This is something else that the media doesn’t talk about so the average person isn’t aware of it.
commented 2017-07-09 18:08:26 -0400
Bill Elder – The problem with “clean coal” is that ti does nothing that natural gas can’t, and the latter’s quite a bit cheaper. In fact historically speaking natural gas displaced coal gas for that very reason – that, and coal gas contains a fair bit of carbon monoxide, which is a problem if it leaks.

It’s “emerging:” in that there’s a lot of money being sunk into it, but it’s a solution looking for a problem. In practice renewables backed up by natural gas is likely to be the way forward. The coal lobby is pushing hard but it was simple economics that did coal in.
commented 2017-07-09 18:00:57 -0400
Peter he also failed to mention as well the thousands of Hector’s of land that’s not only been reclaimed but now has bison grazing on it as well as caribou moose wolves bears etc. etc.… Everybody fails to mention the reclaimed land and all they talk about is the hole in the ground….
I’ve spent 33 years traveling back-and-forth to Fort Mac making a living and I’ve seen more than most (maybe all) of the people that criticize Fort Mac.
The next thing we’re going to hear him complain about is the tributaries running into the Athabasca River have oil on them… Well of course they’ve got oil on them they’ve had oil on them for thousands of years. It’s what leeches up out of the ground that has been a part of that river system since time inmortal….
People have been taught to react to their emotions before their brain fully has a chance to engage with the facts.
commented 2017-07-09 17:53:51 -0400
You accuse me of lack of intellect but I see getting anywhere near yours is proving more difficult then one could’ve ever expected…
In your senseless disregard of what’s moral, right and proper I can see that you never read the complete postings I left on this thread.. Not that I feel the need but I felt for a moment that I would bring you up-to-date on what’s going on with Andrew.
Andrew has already admitted that he supports Kathleen Wynne and her agenda for sex education that was written by a pedophile who is now incarcerated for crimes of pedophilia.
He is insisting that the majority of the parents who are affected by this are on board with nine-year-old children learning about oral sex.
and what one doesn’t criticize one support’s.!! I will engage Andrew to remind the public of what he is and it would be in your better interest to not back or support Andrew Stephenson.. Some people might get the wrong idea about you.
And just to bring you up to speed one doesn’t have to practice pedophilia to know that it’s wrong nor does one have to be subjected to pedophilia to know that it’s wrong.!!
Based on your criticisms of me and your rantings to support those who would support pedophilia I am beginning to wonder about your moral compass as well.
However if you would’ve read everything you would have seen that I apologized to the gentle people who post on this site for my condemnation of a leftist liberal supporter who endorses everything that the Liberal government imposes on regular mainstream people against our will and against the laws of God.!!
So calm down Gary… And don’t get in the way of someone who’s done nothing to you as it seems I’ve done nothing that would lead you to defend a self proclaimed pedophile or attack me without thinking this thing through.
So if you’re done hurling insults at me then maybe calm down reconsider your options and decide which side of the fence you’re on left or right.!
Have a nice day Gary.
commented 2017-07-09 17:40:09 -0400
Chuck Spears said, “Fort Mac basically rips up the Earth with a machine the is 15 floors tall with a gigantic buckets attached on a ferris wheel.”

Conveniently, Chuck, you left out that all the cleaned sand is replaced back in the pit and then the surface is put back to its’ natural state as it was before the open pit mining. It is seeded and trees planted and wildlife re-inhabits what was once an open pit mine.

If you look at the reclaimed land you would never know there had been an open pit mine there.

How convenient you leave out that little detail, Chuck.

That’s have the eco-freaks/eco-liars work … they only present you with part of the story. The inconvenient parts to their cause are left out.
commented 2017-07-09 16:45:44 -0400
Hey Le vicious cuss 2013. You really have some sort of mental deficiency don’t you? Is everybody in your world a pedophile because they don’t agree with you? Or maybe you got dropped on your head at some point in your life? Or maybe you were abused? Or maybe you are inhabited by some sort of thing that needs to be exorcised? Do you know any good psychiatrists or maybe a priest? You also need spelling lessons. That says to me you may be slightly under-educated. Also, maybe you can explain – although I doubt you have the mental capacity to do so – how an article on solar panels leads to a lunatic raving about pedophilia. Have you taken your pills today? Are you going back to mom’s basement now? That’s a good boy/girl/it.
commented 2017-07-09 16:05:16 -0400
What? We’re being ripped off? All progressives are just lying, crony capitalists (champagne socialists)? Imagine my surprise. I just watched an old episode of ‘The Rockford Files’. Other than the lack of cell phones and the internet, didn’t seem like 2017 was all that ‘The Jetsons’ ahead of them. And they landed on the moon. We hitch rides with Russia to get to low earth orbit. Wow, how incredibly advanced we are, just look at all the non-smoking, hippos we have in the 21st century, Buck Rogers would be impressed (and likely a little nauseated).
commented 2017-07-09 15:41:56 -0400
Andrew – clean coal is an emerging technology, it involves large scale projects which feed large scale grid distribution – Grid delivery in itself is a deeply inefficient technology with upwards of 60% line loss. The future of smart energy is to build energy self contained dwellings and communities running home and small local distribution systems of multi tech base which are sustainable and highly efficient. Small scale clean coal 3rd gen tech is in the mix for powering remote industrial operations or settlements. Fossil fuels are a stop gap utility to get us to more efficient self sustain energy tech. Use it while it’s available. You will see clean coal options used and the tech evolve as Wind maintenance costs and inefficiency and PV costs force mixed source energy systems. Coal is an abundant resource and can burn efficiently and cleanly and is far less risky than Nuclear and has less environment impact than large scale hyro projects. It’s in the options mix and the Oil cartels fear it’s developing clean burn tech.
commented 2017-07-09 13:55:00 -0400
The Truth be known the Government and these Green Environment Solar and Windmill manufacturers’ have not created a dam thing that saves the environment in the first place! Don’t let Prime Minister Junior Potatoe talk you into any “Wooden Nickels’”!
commented 2017-07-09 13:50:33 -0400
It is absolutely sickening how easy people are willing to brush off or look the other way or put their heads in the sand with policies like these in our schools and transgenders with a pair of tits and a functioning penis using the same showers and change rooms as a prepubescent female children.
It doesn’t take a lot of morality to understand this is absolutely wrong in fact it takes a lack of any morality at all..
My apologies to the rest of the people posting on the site for getting off topic with the liberals who don’t have any children of their own but would willfully expose our greatest asset to their sexual preference of choice..!!
commented 2017-07-09 13:44:36 -0400
Gary Wieb..
If you’re a leftist liberal supporter by the nature of liberal policy that’s what you are because that’s what they promote and support and they don’t even try to hide it.. It has nothing to do about agreeing with me or disagreeing with me.
If I was a liberal I would swing to the r right even if I supported every other policy except the pedophilia they’re introducing as indoctrination to our children. That one policy is enough to derail and discredit them in any of their political platforms.
And if you support liberal policy and promote this sort of agenda in our schools that makes you a pedophile to.!!
commented 2017-07-09 12:28:50 -0400
Bill Elder – as you note, most cells are actually the less efficient silicon cells, which are economical because they’re cheap enough that the dollar per watt is better than the more exotic materials. Thermal efficiency is almost irrelevant when your fuel is free. This also means that mining is far less impactful for commercial installations than the high efficiency but rather exotic cells used as the model in the study. Even then, most of the ’waste" is rather base, being concrete, glass, and steel – capital structures inexplicably ignored for other power sources, notably the nuclear plants they compare it to.

Coal mining is itself hardly innocuous.

“Clean coal” has proven to be enormously pricey. Coal IS cheap when you run open stacks, but the typical efficiency of those is in the 30-40% range. The high efficiency examples cited, typically gasify the coal first, creating synthetic natural gas – you can’t burn coal in a combined cycle directly as the grit wrecks your turbines. The problem is, that synthetic gas made from coal is considerably more expensive than actual natural gas that can be burned directly. There’s a reason all the coal gasification plants closed 50 years ago.

The thermal efficiencies achieved by said plants is also available to natural gas, and frequently is in district heat plants found on university campuses and in urban areas, which use precisely that cogeneration scheme at 90%+ thermal efficiency. Again, it’s cheaper to fire them with actual natural gas.

Finally, high efficiency low emission coal plants … are only economically viable with government largesses, and since they are typically designed as carbon capture projects, in jurisdictions with carbon taxes. Saskatchewan’s tossed billions of dollars at a CCS plant and it still doesn’t work right. The cost per MWH of “HELE” clean coal, is $150-200, considerably higher than solar’s $120-150, and triple the price of standard natural gas at $70 New coal fired generation is in the $100 range, though older plants are cheaper since they’re paid off.

Long story short, “Clean coal” is basically “greenwashing”, the last desperate attempt of a dying industry to maintain relevance. If you insist on burning fossil fuels, natural gas is superior in just about every way.
commented 2017-07-09 08:51:34 -0400
Well, until they figure out an economical way for solar panels to keep me warm at midnight on January 15th, I’ll be burning some kind of fuel.
commented 2017-07-09 08:06:53 -0400
Obviously you have never been to Fort Mac before! Inner city computer jockey troglodite?

Fort Mac basically rips up the Earth with a machine the is 15 floors tall with a gigantic buckets attached on a ferris wheel. After they are done processing the sand, which requires about 10 barrels of water for 1 barrel of oil, the sand returned to the land is pure white as far as the eye can see and the waste water is dumped and fenced off in a toxic waste lake, to never be used again. Anywere near the plants, it snows black!
Yeah, the oil industry is way better! NOT! unless you basically ok with writing of 5% of the country and God only knows how much water ways are permanently damaged!

Want a solution? Build giant rings on coils that move up and down with tidal wave current on 1 coast and sell the excess to other countries, ban fossil fuel vehicles and use only electric with electric fueling stations everywhere. While we are at it, ban duel citizenship and make Canada a single passport holding country!
commented 2017-07-09 06:35:09 -0400
Hey Le vicious cuss 2013. According to you everyone that doesn’t agree with you is a pedophile. What is the matter with you. There are people posting that I don’t agree with either but at least I ask the Lord to open their eyes. All you can do is rant and rave like a vicious left-winger thereby making you just as bad as the people you seem to hate. Also, why would you hide behind a name chosen from the Bible and then act like a spawn of Satan? Get a grip.
commented 2017-07-09 02:19:07 -0400
Photovoltaic technology is really clunky and inefficient with severely diminished return on investment. – and as Holly says promotes open pit mining and toxic ore processing – basically a dead loss from a business and engineering perspective. This would be a dead technology/industry if it were not for government patronage and support for inefficient energy systems.

The second law of thermodynamics forbids a 100%-efficient solar cell. More specifically, Carnot’s theorem applies to photovoltaics and any other solar energy system, where the hot side of the “heat engine” is the temperature of the sun and the cold side is the ambient temperature on earth. and for a flat system that does not track the sun, the maximum efficiency is 35%.

On the market today, the highest efficiency that money can buy is 35% for unconcentrated photovoltaics (e.g. Spectrolab) . By the way, there is currently a huge gap between the highest efficiency that money can buy (35% from Spectrolab, for $100,000 per square meter) and the highest efficiency that is not insanely expensive (20% silicon modules from SunPower)

By comparison Clean coal HELE systems use an abundant cheap fuel and with capture and reburn achieve near 100% energy efficiency at less than 1/2 the cost per KW of focused Tracking photovoltaics – and the technology is cleaner
commented 2017-07-09 01:27:23 -0400
Most capitalist endeavours are.

Of 2000s disruptive technology, the Americans won at handheld computing, the Chinese seem to have won at solar power. Next on the docket is mass-market electric cars, we’ll have to see who wins that one.