Solar industry grapples with hazardous wastes - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Solar industry grapples with hazardous wastes

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SAN FRANCISCO -

Homeowners on the hunt for sparkling solar panels are lured by ads filled touted it as a clean energy source, but they may not know there's a dirtier side.

While solar is a far less polluting energy source than coal or natural gas, many panel makers are nevertheless grappling with a hazardous waste problem. Fueled partly by billions in government incentives, the industry is creating millions of solar panels each year and, in the process, millions of pounds of polluted sludge and contaminated water.

To dispose of the material, the companies must transport it by truck or rail far from their own plants to waste facilities hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of miles away.

The fossil fuels used to transport that waste, experts say, is not typically considered in calculating solar's carbon footprint.

The waste from manufacturing has raised concerns within the industry, which fears that the problem, if left unchecked, could undermine solar's green image.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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