There are 3,455 panels over 16 sections with 216 panels in each section for the 1.25 megawatt solar farm near Williams Lake. (File photo)

LETTER: Langley letter writer concerned about impending solar panel waste problem

Local man questions how society will deal with solar panels at the end of their life spans

Dear Editor

Letter to Township mayor and council

Solar panel toxic waste is a societal burden for cleanup costs

Is the Green solution causing more pollution?

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels cause a huge amount of toxic waste and they are unfeasible to recycle.

Clean Energy BC has for 25 years been promoting solar, wind, geothermal, run of river etc. but we have no program to clean up the end-of-life solar PV waste.

In B.C. we have three industrial size solar farms, and we have about 1300-plus individual (rooftop) supplemental solar systems connected to the grid.

BC Hydro used to subsidize those solar customers with power buy-back credits, but they are changing policy as they have an abundance of power and ‘Site C’ will be coming on stream.

Subsidies in B.C. for solar are in the form of:

• Solar Farms – guaranteed sale of power to BC Hydro. (Energy purchase agreements.) Also federal grants for some.

• Transferring the end of life cleanup costs to the taxpayers.

As those PV panels age, degrade and lose their effectiveness, (many are there now), what happens at the end of their 20- to 30-year life?

We continue to enthusiastically promote solar, but the reality is the disposal problem will only get worse as the industry expands.

• Recycling

Since recycling is difficult, expensive and unprofitable, the problem is being avoided. They’re probably cut-up and headed for our landfills.

The recycle process being touted involves burning plastics spewing more toxic pollution to the atmosphere. This seems worse than burning coal.

Europe has mandated recycling of PV Panels by grouping them in with electronics or E-Waste, not allowed in landfills.

For most countries, PV is classified as general waste, however a lot of the E-waste is sent off in containers to poor countries like Philippines, Ghana, India, etc.

• Toxic Waste

Study findings show ”Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be washed out of the fragments of solar modules in several months by rainwater.” Mega-tons of toxins leaching into our environment, our drinking water aquifers.

This industry is gobbling up rare earth metals at an enormous rate – cadmium, tellurium, indium, gallium, selenium, antimony, etc.

The manufacturers, sellers, installers, the whole PV industry gets a pass on end of life clean-up costs, except us taxpayers don’t.

Attempts to hold solar farm operators to account for decommissioning will likely fail as many continue to claim bankruptcy.

We climate march and pretend to care for the environment.

Roland Seguin, Langley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
COVID case confirmed at Fort Langley Seniors Community

One of five new cases reported by Fraser health Authority

Langley’s Ken Cormack (L) and Craig Brown won the B.C. Match Play Net Championship on Sunday, Oct. 18 in Richmond (Courtesy Ken Cormack)
Two ‘dads’ from Langley win B.C. Match Play Net Championship of golf

‘We were just doing it to have fun and have a laugh’

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in flag fight cost Langley City $62,000

Report describes process as “lengthy and involved”

Mary Foote (right) took part in the Gutsy Walk in August 2020 at the age of 104. She was joined by son in-law Clarence and daughter Edith Olson. (family photo)
Langley woman turns 105 on Oct. 25

In August, Mary Foote took part in the Gutsy Walk to battle Crohn’s and Colitis

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

The website Chigoby is among eight scam online retailers that have been identified by the Better Business Bureau. The site was fraudulently using an Abbotsford residential address, but has since switched to one in Poland.
8 scam online-shopping websites fraudulently use Abbotsford address

Better Business Bureau says victims lost hundreds for non-existent or poor-quality products

The Surrey Eagles are currently seeking billet families for its players in advance of the 2020-‘21 BC Hockey League season. (Garrett James photo)
BCHL team in ‘desperate’ need of billet families for upcoming hockey season

COVID-19 pandemic has made finding homes for players difficult: billet co-ordinator

Most Read