The afterlife of solar panels

Read the full story from The Wire.

Solar energy is a rapidly expanding marketplace that should benefit the environment. Solar panels can last for decades if they are properly cleaned and maintained. But there is a catch. What happens to these panels after they are decommissioned? They go straight to the landfill, where they have significant consequences. Heavy metals in solar panels such as lead and cadmium have been known to seep out of the cells, enter groundwater and harm plants, alter soil fertility, and affect our livelihoods. Most solar recycling facilities simply extract the valuable silver and copper from the cells before burning the contaminated glass and plastic casings in cement furnaces.

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