Green Homes- Solar Panels and Hazardous Waste Green Homes- Solar Panels and Hazardous Waste
In creating green homes, many people choose to use solar panels to make their homes more energy efficient and help to reduce electrical costs. Solar panels are excellent alternatives to providing electricity in the home, and are very effective at powering many common devices and even heating hot water. However, when we think of solar panels, we tend to overlook any potential downside or problems with solar panels. But, there is a dark side.
Hazardous Materials and Solar Panels
While solar panels certainly are an excellent way to make a home more energy-efficient, they also can be quite hazardous to your health. The materials used to create solar panels are not always the healthiest types of materials to be exposed to. In fact, the production process of solar panels uses many dangerous chemicals, such as: hydrogen fluoride, nitric acid, sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide. Often, these chemicals also require the off-site storage of these hazardous materials once they are no longer needed.
In fact, a study by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection showed that a single solar panel manufacturer, evergreen solar created more than 1,000,000 pounds of hazardous waste in 2008. The factory was only operating at 40% capacity at the time. Many people speculate that once the factory reaches full production capacity, the factory will create more than 2.5 million pounds of hazardous waste. The types of chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process of solar panel panels are quite toxic and are difficult to store and cause many environmental concerns of their own.
Hope On the Horizon For Solar Panels
While most solar panel manufacturers still utilize manufacturing processes that involve dangerous chemicals, there are some newer solar panel manufacturers that do not. In fact, companies like Sun Mate Commercial Solar Heating Systems are now making and producing solar panels that do not use these types of toxic hazardous waste materials.
While the solar panels manufactured by these types of companies may be slightly less efficient than those manufactured under the old processes, they are much more environmentally friendly and do a very good job at absorbing energy from the sun. They help protect the environment by limiting the use of dangerous, toxic chemicals.