As the world’s utilization of renewable energy increases, so does the waste that is created by manufacturing the materials needed to generate the power. Most solar panels have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years and 75 million metric tons of solar waste are projected to be landfilled by 2050. However, solar panels should not be disposed of in landfills as they contain potentially hazardous materials and other toxic substances that can leach into the soil and contaminate groundwater if not properly handled. In addition, solar panels contain valuable materials such as silicon, aluminum, copper, and silver that can be recycled and reused in new products, so it is important to properly recycle them at the end of their life cycle. Although the amount of waste generated by solar panels is relatively low, recycling programs are increasingly being developed to address this issue.
The Coldharbour Institute have taken the idea of recycling to a whole other level with their Equitable Solar Solutions (ESS) program. ESS focuses on providing affordable solar energy solutions to underserved communities, particularly low-income households and communities of color, through the acquisition of surplus solar panels from solar companies or individuals that are looking to upgrade their current solar system. While these panels are not new, they are still able to produce energy and thus still have immense value. By acquiring older panels, costs are drastically reduced, making financial feasibility far more achievable.
Join us on this episode of RENEWables and meet the Co-Founders of Equitable Solar Solutions, Rich Stromberg, CJ Gooderham and Maria Agazio, to learn more about how the 501.3C non-profit program finds and repurposes these usable solar panels and their plans for ensuring the sustainability of the solar industry while minimizing its environmental impact for the future generations.
|RENEWables, A Sustainabilty Podcast is a new podcast focused on the energy landscape of today. Everything from emerging renewable energy technologies to sustainability practices to why brands are changing the way they think, RENEWables is a source for current and dynamic conversation.|
Be the first to hear new episodes by subscribing to our email list here.