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are solar panels bad for the environment?

I’ve been seeing an increased number of articles and news stories on TV about how “green” solar panels really are. There is a group of people out there discrediting the solar power industry, since manufacturing process is very chemical intensive. Yes, it’s true that chemicals that could hurt the environment, but only if the company manufacturing the solar panels have bad practices of handling and disposing of the chemicals. Many of the solar panels that are made here in the USA have strict standards of how to handle waste. In fact, Evergreen Solar claims their manufacturing process is the most environmentally friendly because of their high standards towards chemical disposal and unique manufacturing processes.

On the other hand, some Chinese solar panel manufacturers last year got caught red handed dumping chemicals into nearby villages. But I suppose Chinese manufacturers in general are notorious for poor environmental standards, don’t you agree? Even though Chinese solar panels are some of the most cost effective on the market, depending on the company, there might be an environmental impact behind the lowest cost.

The standard crystalline solar panel have an extremely long life time, they last for at least 25 years and upwards to 50 years and 95% of the solar panel is recyclable including the silicon, glass, metal frame and copper wiring. Not to mention the years of clean energy the solar panel would produce offsetting coal powered generation. So even though the process of making a solar panel is chemically intensive, on the flip side each solar panel once installed and generating electricity is helping clean up the environment.

What do you think? Is the media just blowing things out of proportion or do they have a valid point? please discuss!

Author: Deep Patel

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