California to Cover Canals With Toxic Solar Panels

Californian Solar Panel Canals. Source The Register, Fair Use, Low Resolution Image to Identify the Subject.


California to Cover Canals With Toxic Solar Panels

1 day ago

Eric Worrall


Essay by Eric Worrall

Solar panels, which contain dangerous toxins like Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic and toxic plastics, are to be installed as covers for California’s water supply canals.

California to try tackling drought with canal-top solar panels

Watt an interesting idea

Brandon Vigliarolo

California is ready to try out something that could help it save water and generate electricity at the same time: solar panels over irrigation canals.

For this proof-of-concept experiment, some 8,500 feet of photovoltaic panels will be installed over waterways just north of Turlock, central California, generating electricity while preventing water from evaporating away.

This $20 million state-funded pilot program has been dubbed Project Nexus, and will by run by Turlock Irrigation District (TID), a nonprofit water and power utility, along with its partners. If it’s a success, it could well be deployed across more of America’s Golden State.

…Read more:

Solar panels are so toxic, disposal is a serious issue. From the US EPA;

Are Solar Panels Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste testing on solar panels in the marketplace has indicated that different varieties of solar panels have different metals present in the semiconductor and solder. Some of these metals, like lead and cadmium, are harmful to human health and the environment at high levels. If these metals are present in high enough quantities in the solar panels, solar panel waste could be a hazardous waste under RCRA. Some solar panels are considered hazardous waste, and some are not, even within the same model and manufacturer. Homeowners with solar panels on their houses should contact their state/local recycling agencies for more information on disposal/recycling. 

Overview of Hazardous Waste Regulations

Federal solid and hazardous waste regulations (i.e., the RCRA requirements) apply to solar panels when they are discarded. When a solar panel reaches the end of its usable life or is otherwise discarded, it becomes solid waste. Solid waste is regulated federally under RCRA Subtitle D and through state and local government programs.

…Read more:

I don’t know if sufficient quantities of Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic and other more exotic toxins could leach into the water to constitute a health hazard. But who in their right mind would want to take such a risk?

Roofing hundreds of miles of waterways with covers which contain dangerous chemicals, and can potentially leach those dangerous chemicals into the water supply, is not my idea of a sensible plan. A low level of leaching might add up to a serious problem over a long enough distance. Even if the leach rate is initially low, as the panels deteriorate, or are vandalised, the rate at which nasty chemicals enter the water supply could accelerate to dangerous levels.

Lets just say if California goes forward with this ridiculous plan, deliberately placing deadly toxins in close proximity to their household and agricultural water supply, I’m going to start checking the produce labels more carefully in the future when I go shopping.

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