China’s ageing solar panels are going to be a big environmental problem 

Posted: July 31, 2017 by oldbrew in Critique
Tags: ,


What to do with millions of tons of retired solar panels? Answers on a postcard to China.

China will have the world’s worst problem with ageing solar panels in less than two decades, according to a recent industry estimate, as South China Morning Post reports.

Lu Fang, secretary general of the photovoltaics division in the China Renewable Energy Society, wrote in an article circulating on mainland social media this month that the country’s cumulative capacity of retired panels would reach up to 70 gigawatts (GW) by 2034.

That is three times the scale of the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower project, by power production.

By 2050 these waste panels would add up to 20 million tonnes, or 2,000 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower, according to Lu.

“In fair weather, prepare for foul,” she warned.


. . .
Tian Min, general manager of Nanjing Fangrun Materials, a recycling company in Jiangsu province that collects retired solar panels, said the solar power industry was a ticking time bomb.

“It will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment, if the estimate is correct,” he said.

“This is a huge amount of waste and they are not easy to recycle,” Tian added.

Full report here.

Comments
  1. oldbrew says:

    The SCMP goes on to say:

    A sales manager of a solar power recycling company believes there could be a way to dispose of China’s solar junk, nonetheless.

    “We can sell them to Middle East,” said the manager who requested not to be named.
    “Our customers there make it very clear that they don’t want perfect or brand new panels. They just want them cheap,” he said.

    “They are re-selling these panels to household users living in deserts. There, there is lots of land to install a large amount of panels to make up for their low performance,” the manager added.
    “Everyone is happy with the result,” he added.

    – – –
    Shipping secondhand solar gear by the millions of tons shouldn’t be a problem for export-mad China, but making a profit out of it might be tough.

  2. China is a big problem for the environment in many ways, they had to add also a renewable energy solution becoming a problem. I really hope they are going to recycle them.

  3. Nancy says:

    Reblogged this on "OUR WORLD".

  4. tom0mason says:

    Efficiently maximizing performance while minimizing materials use, at a cost customers will pay, is what a free and open market is all about. The use of inefficient methods such as subsidy, and providing products without the performance that customers expects is project doomed to failure. Most Green products are all about the latter not the former.

  5. Dave Ward says:

    “They are re-selling these panels to household users living in deserts. There, there is lots of land to install a large amount of panels to make up for their low performance,” the manager added.

    But those “repurposed” panels will eventually fail completely, and I think we can guess how they will be disposed of…

  6. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Like most green energy it’s not very green;

    Are we headed for a solar waste crisis?

    June 21, 2017

    By Jemin Desai and Mark Nelson

    Last November, Japan’s Environment Ministry issued a stark warning: the amount of solar panel waste Japan produces every year will rise from 10,000 to 800,000 tons by 2040, and the nation has no plan for safely disposing of it.

    Neither does California, a world leader in deploying solar panels. Only Europe requires solar panel makers to collect and dispose of solar waste at the end of their lives.

    All of which raises the question: just how big of a problem is solar waste?

    http://www.environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/6/21/are-we-headed-for-a-solar-waste-crisis

  7. oldbrew says:

    ‘Only Europe requires solar panel makers to collect and dispose of solar waste at the end of their lives.’

    A large number of such makers are likely to have gone bust or closed down anyway by the due dates.

  8. stpaulchuck says:

    more of the blind eye approach of greenies
    by the time they are done there will be massive bad news for the Earth

  9. davet916 says:

    I see unexpected sea-level rise in the future spreading from the South China Sea.

    davet916

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