Elon Musk's SolarCity Solar Panels Set Your Home (or Walmart) on fire and poison the Earth

- Walmart sues Musk for setting their stores on fire!

A neighbor down the street proudly placed solar panels on his house. He spent $4,000 after government subsidies and whatever deductions he may have taken from his income tax. He is confident that this move will save him tons of money on electricity and will safeguard the planet from global warming Armageddon by reducing his carbon footprint from fossil fuels. 

There is one fly in this perfect ointment—solar panels generate “tons of toxic waste” during the production process and during their disposal/replacement.

The solar energy advocates, who only see cheap electricity with rose-colored glasses, are oblivious to the reality of cost, toxic chemicals, environmental pollution, and health hazards to humans and animals. Here are some immediate concerns about solar panels.

  1. How much maintenance would be required for the massive roll out of solar panels around the planet and who will pay for installation and maintenance since they do require a lot of maintenance and replacement?
  2. Solar farms and solar panels are heavily subsidized by governments. What if the subsidies stop?  And they have. Solyndra went bankrupt and left taxpayers holding the bag for $535 million in federal loans. https://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/Barack-Obama-Solyndra-Scandal-Green-Energy/2015/01/29/id/621537/
  3. Producing crystalline silicon from silicon results in a lot of input loss. “Sawing c-Si into the thin wafers used in panels creates a significant amount of waste silicon dust, up to 50 percent of which is lost in the air and water used to rinse the wafers. The process of making crystalline silicon from silicon is also inefficient; as much as 80 percent of the raw silicon is lost in the process.
  4. Health issues in the manufacture, use, and disposal of solar panels: 
    • Release of silicon tetrachloride, “a very toxic substance that reacts violently with water, causes skin burns, skin, eye, and respiratory irritations.
    • Sulfur hexafluoride, a potent greenhouse gas, 23,000 times worse than CO2, used to clean the reactors used in silicon production. In the west the “molecules are captured and reused in a closed-loop process,” but in China there is silicon tetrachloride pollution from PV cell factories established to fill the demand for solar energy.
    • Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin films are made of cadmium, which is a toxic, expensive, cancer-causing heavy metal. Cadmium can be rinsed into the water table during the production process. One percent of CdTe is released into the environment as waste. Thin-film panels that might catch on fire in a home would release cadmium. 
    • Copper indium selenide (CIS) uses hydrogen selenide which is toxic and very dangerous even in low concentrations.
    • Selenium dioxide, a dangerous air pollutant, forms at high temperatures, causing problems for manufacturing workers. 

Toxic chemicals in solar panels include cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide, copper indium gallium (di)selenide, hexafluoroethane, lead, and polyvinyl fluoride

Dr. David Nguyen, a cancer biologist, remarked, “The toxic chemicals in solar panels include cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide, copper indium gallium (di)selenide, hexafluoroethane, lead, and polyvinyl fluoride. Additionally, silicon tetrachloride, a byproduct of producing crystalline silicon, is highly toxic.”

Silicon tetrachloride, the byproduct of making wafers for monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, is highly toxic and its improper handling can cause skin burns, pollute the air, cause lung disease, and, when exposed to water it releases hydrochloric acid (HCl), a corrosive substance. Manufacturers and recyclers are directly affected and even homeowners if their homes catch on fire.

To get a picture of the environmental impact of chemicals due to solar panels manufactured and installed by 2016, a study estimates that “photovoltaics had spread about 11,000 tons of lead and about 800 tons of cadmium” into the ecosystem.

EPA has classified cadmium as a Group B1, probable human carcinogen.

There are no salvageable parts on a solar panel so it must be decomposed, and the chemicals disposed of properly.  Disposal costs are exorbitant and unscrupulous. Chinese manufacturers are releasing the toxic chemicals into the environment.

Carbon Footprint formed in the production, maintenance, and replacement of Elon Musk's Solar Panels

Solar power may not produce greenhouse gases while consumers use it, but it does release harmful chemicals during production. One such chemical is nitrogen trifluoride, which, according to Ray Weiss, a professor of geochemistry at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is 17,000 stronger than carbon dioxide.

According to Deutsche Welle, Sulphur hexafluoride, a greenhouse gas released during solar panel production, is 22,800 times more potent than CO2. 

Since 1997, when the U.S. produced 334.2 megawatts of solar energy, the industry has grown to 6,220.3 megawatts in 2013. For the 0.2 percent solar power usage in the U.S. (Institute for Energy Research), an insignificant amount, the solar panel production and disposal industries seem to create a lot of dangerous pollutants. 

Ben Howell pointed out other issues that solar panel proponents have not entertained, the carbon footprint formed in the production, maintenance, and replacement of the following: