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Shocking investigation into disadvantages of solar energy

We all know that solar energy is better than burning fossil fuels, not only for reducing carbon emissions, but for human health.

However, the manufacturing of solar panels and devices does have a negative impact on the environment, along with the disposal of them at the end of their useful life.

A 2013 investigation into the solar industry found that the millions of solar panels manufactured annually results in millions of pounds of contaminated water and toxic waste sludge. Companies that cannot process the hazardous waste on-site must send the waste to another state for processing. In fact, it can take from one to three months of solar energy generation to offset the energy needed to drive the hazardous waste to another state. Not all companies are adding these additional costs and emissions into their carbon footprint reports, which can be an additional 5% from the reported amounts.

The problem becomes worse when we look at the rise of off-grid solar devices in developing countries. Many do not have the ability to handle solid waste like developed countries, and therefore these devices will likely be burned or thrown away into the environment.

This problem will need to be fixed during the design of new products, in order to be safer, more sustainable, and include more recycled content and materials. In addition, the ease of disassembly will need to be integrated to make recycling and disposal safer and more likely to occur.

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