Solar Farm Rejected Over Fears It Could Drain The Sun Cause Cancer
The Paris climate change agreement is a triumph for the planet, but the widespread ignorance of this subject demonstrates a failure of science communication. And this ignorance is more than just a laughing matter: it could represent an obstacle to reaching certain energy goals. For instance, a town in the U.S. has just blocked construction of a solar farm, in part due to fears it would drain the Suns energy, Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald reports.
Before we go into detail, let us just clarify a few things. Solar panels do not suck up the Suns rays of photons. Just like wind farms do not deplete our planet of wind. Its in the name: these renewable sources of energy are not finite like fossil fuels we simply harness what is available to us. Wind turbines and solar panels are not vacuums, nor do they divert this energy from other systems. Photons constantly stream towards the planet, and air continually rushes over our lands. There is no using up involved.
No, we are not stealing the Sun. Image credit: Masson/Shutterstock
Mann also voiced concerns of supposedly elevated cancer levels in the area, and the fact that no one had demonstrated these werent to do with the installation of the solar panels. If this is a genuine worry shared among residents, or indeed the wider community, it is completely unfounded. Although UV radiation is a carcinogen, something that can cause cancer, solar panels do not affect the amount of UV rays that hit an area.
What Are The Dangers Of Solar Panels
The sun bathes the Earth with enough energy every hour to fulfill the entire planet’s power requirements for one year. Solar panels may not produce as much energy as traditional power sources, but you can’t point those other sources at the sun and get free electricity either. Solar panels aren’t dangerous they can’t explode when you drop them and they can’t set your house on fire. However, it’s important to learn how these high tech devices work if you’re thinking about purchasing them.
Danger: Solar Panels Can Be Hazardous To Your Health
Its easy to think that solar panels can do no wrong after all, they will help lead us out of our energy crisis, right? Unfortunately, these shining beacons of hope produce toxic e-waste just like cell phones, TVs, and computers. A report released today by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition admonishes the solar industry to face its e-waste problem head on or risk repeating the mistakes made by the microelectronics industry.
The SVTC warns that solar panel production creates many of the same toxic byproducts as those found in semiconductor production, including silicon tetrachloride, dusts, and greenhouse gases like sulfur hexafluoride. These byproducts arent anything to scoff at silicon tetrachloride, for example, makes land unsuitable for growing crops. And for each ton of polysilicon produced, four tons of silicon tetrachloride are generated.
There are steps that the solar industry can take to minimize toxic risks, however. The SVTC recommends that manufacturers test materials for toxicity before using them. Additionally, the group asks manufacturers to ramp up takeback programs.
But getting solar panel manufacturers to take back their products after 25 years could prove difficult, especially since other electronics manufacturers that make products with much shorter lifespans cant get their takeback programs off the ground.
Photo Credit: CC-licensed by flickr user David Boyle
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Solar Panels Health And Safety
Do solar panels cause cancer? What are the health concerns about solar panels? Do they contain toxins?
Well, to understand this better, let us explore deeper on what constitutes the solar panels.
Typically, solar panels technology is divided into two main categories. These include:
- Silicon cells, and
- The thin-film technology
Crystalline silicon cells are the most commonly used ones for the home solar panels. They are mainly made from rocks and sand, which means that they are non-toxic.
However, some may say that the solar panels contain some amount of lead necessary for wiring. Well, while this is true, the amount of lead is minimal and is also encased by a sturdy glass and aluminum case. The casing helps to ensure that the lead is not exposed to humans.
As for the thin-film panels, they have a completely different technology from the silicon ones. Instead of using silicon, these types of panels use various compounds which may be toxic. However, thin-film technology is not mostly designed for residential application.
Some of the toxic elements used in thin-film technology include cadmium and gallium. Cadmium is usually a waste product during mining and therefore, using it in the solar panel production does not necessitate to more mining for the component.
The good thing in the thin-film technology is that the elements are completely sealed using aluminum and glass frame.
Do Solar Inverters Emit Radiation
One of the biggest concerns of people using solar power systems is whether there is any harmful radiation emitted by both the solar panel and the inverter.
If you are one of those solar inverter users who feels the same concern about the radiation emitted from the solar inverter and its harmful effects, I am here to enlighten you with the right information. Have a look!
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Curiosities About Solar Energy
Use of solar energy is near a solution. This was the headline in the New York Times on 4 April 1931. It turned out to be a premonition, since, 80 years later and electricity is being supplied to millions of human beings in the world from renewable energies such as solar. Humanity has now declared its readiness to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, conscious of the finite nature of fossil fuels and their prejudicial effects on the environment as the main cause of global warming.
As the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda chimed in El Sol: I am a man of light, of so much rose, such predestined clarity, I will die from shining.
Solar energy, on the other hand, will never die of shining, since the Sun still has 6.5 billion years of life according to NASA. Indeed, in rather less time, solar technology in some countries has evolved to compete with conventional sources of electricity generation. In just a few decades time, it will become the major part of a sustainable energy system for the world.
Additionally, the conditions for the development of solar energy could not be more perfect: the Sun bathes the Earth hourly with enough light and heat to fulfill global needs for a whole year in other words, solar radiation can satisfy our energy needs 4,000 times over.
As the publication Renewable Energies Info estimates, the Earths surface receives 120,000 Terawatts of solar irradiation, which represents 20,000 times more power than the whole planet needs.
Do Solar Panels Emit Radiation
Modern electronics emit very low levels of EM fields and radiofrequency radiation.
In a photovoltaic system, the solar inverter that converts direct current power from your panels into the alternating current can be considered an EM source or RF radiation source depending on which frequency youre referring to.
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Solar Panels And Toxic Materials
There are two major categories of solar photovoltaic technology: silicon cells, and thin-film.
The most common technology, and the one that is used almost exclusively for homes, is crystalline silicon cells. Silicon is completely non-toxic and the primary element in rocks and sand.
Silicon solar panels may have a very small amount of lead that is used in wiring, but because this is encased behind a durable glass and aluminum frame, thereâs no risk of being exposed.
Safety Hazards Associated With Solar Panel Manufacturing
While society should massively benefit from using cleaner, safe, renewable energy from their solar panels, its imperative to consider other manufacturing health effects on workers. Workers are exposed to more harmful substances depending on the technology they use in solar cell manufacturing.
For instance, silicon cells create nitric acid, and strong alkalis such as sodium hydroxide released during the manufacturing process. Therefore, its critical that workers get proper ventilation and physical protection to improve safety.
There should be safety standards for workers and everyone who comes into contact with solar panels before they are used by the regular homeowner. Workers should be protected from the harsh chemicals produced depending on the technology used.
For installers and homeowners, the risk is less as the panels are usually attached to the rooftop. That means you are two times more exposed to the EMR from your laptop or mobile phone than the solar system up there.
Each panel comes with a product label that tells you about the environmental and worker safety certifications the product has undergone. While they are not always guaranteed, theyre valuable in ensuring that your product is manufactured to the correct standards.
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How Are People Exposed To Elf Radiation
Generating, transmitting, distributing, and using electricity all expose people to ELF radiation. Power lines, household wiring, and any device that uses electricity can generate ELF radiation. Thus any electric device, from refrigerators and vacuum cleaners to televisions and computer monitors are sources of ELF radiation. Even electric blankets expose people to ELF radiation.
How much electromagnetic radiation you are exposed to depends on the strength of the electromagnetic field, your distance from the source of the field, and the length of time you are exposed. The highest exposure occurs when the person is very close to a source putting out a strong field and stays there for a long period.
What Happened With The Solarcity Panels At Walmart
The Walmart lawsuit, filed on August 20th 2019, accused that SolarCity practiced âwidespread, systemic negligenceâ and âfailed to abide by prudent industry practices in installing, operating and maintaining its solar systems.â
Walmart and Tesla have settled their lawsuit. They released the following joint statement:
âWalmart and Tesla are pleased to have resolved the issues raised by Walmart concerning the Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores. Safety is a top priority for each company and with the concerns being addressed, we both look forward to a safe re-energization of our sustainable energy systems.â
The court filing claims that Teslaâs own inspectors identified multiple issues with their own installations but failed to repair them. According to court documents, the issues include:
â¢ improper wire management, including abraded and hanging wires â¢ inadequate wire connecting practices and poor grounding â¢ inaccurate as-built drawings andâ¢ solar panel modules that were broken or contained dangerous hotspots.
Walmart documented at least seven rooftop fires related to solar panels at its stores. A single solar panel fire is highly unusual, so seven fires by the same installer strongly suggests a pattern of malpractice.
We should wait for further facts to come out during the court proceedings, but at this point it seems as if Walmart might have a case here.
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Can Solar Panels Give You Cancer
The short answer is no, its unlikely that solar panels will give you cancer. When solar panels first hit the market, there were concerns that they would attract the sun to an area, increase the UV rays which could ultimately lead to some skin cancers, however that theory has been debunked.
Now, there is some association between increased exposure to EMF radiation and certain cancers. Like weve discussed, solar panel systems can increase your overall exposure to radiation, which in theory could increase your chances, however, there are simple steps you can take that we outline above. In addition, to my knowledge, there have been no studies specifically linking solar panel radiation to cancer.
Emr From Electrical Devices Is Non
I think the main reason people are concerned about electromagnetic radiation is they hear the radiation part and assume it is the same as the ionizing radiation released when a reactor core tried to leap through the roof in Chernobyl or when reactors in Fukushima got overly emotional and had a meltdown.
But EMR given off by solar panels and inverters is non-ionizing. This is also true for the little microwave emitter called a mobile phone that you probably regularly press against your brain bucket.
Non-ionizing radiation does not have enough energy to damage atoms and molecules by breaking them or stripping away their electrons. For example, visible light is non-ionizing radiation and chances are it is currently not killing you at the moment. If it is, then whats probably happening is you are actually being shot with a laser.
If this is the case, the important thing to note as you die is, if the laser is visible light its not ionizing you, its mostly just burning you. I hope this knowledge provides you with some solace in your final moments.
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Solar Panels Are Starting To Die Leaving Behind Toxic Trash
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This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Solar panels are an increasingly important source of renewable power that will play an essential role in fighting climate change. They are also complex pieces of technology that become big, bulky sheets of electronic waste at the end of their livesand right now, most of the world doesnt have a plan for dealing with that.
But well need to develop one soon, because the solar e-waste glut is coming. By 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency projects that up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life, and that the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar e-waste annually. While the latter number is a small fraction of the total e-waste humanity produces each year, standard electronics recycling methods dont cut it for solar panels. Recovering the most valuable materials from one, including silver and silicon, requires bespoke recycling solutions. And if we fail to develop those solutions along with policies that support their widespread adoption, we already know what will happen.
We believe the big blind spot in the US for recycling is that the cost far exceeds the revenue, Meng said. Its on the order of a 10-to-1 ratio.
Can The Radiation From Solar Panels Increase Cancer Risk
Electric and magnetic fields together are called electromagnetic fields, or electromagnetic radiation. Imagine these electromagnetic fields on a spectrum, with low-frequency radiation on the low end, which includes things like power lines, and high-frequency radiation on the high end, which includes things like x-rays. Low-frequency radiation is less harmful than high-frequency radiation, which can damage DNA and cells.
Electricity from solar panels and transmission to the power grid emits extremely weak electromagnetic fields. Exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields has been studied extensively, and there is no evidence that it is harmful to human health, according to the World Health Organization . In fact, the WHO notes that most scientists and doctors agree that if any health effects exist from low-level electromagnetic fields, they are likely to be very small compared to other health risks that people face in daily life.
Other agencies, like the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identifiable Health Risks, take a more cautious stance. They say that its possible, but far from conclusive, that extremely low-frequency magnetic fields could be carcinogenic, or have the potential to cause cancer, according to a 2015 report. In the same report, the committee notes that studies of magnetic fields generated by roof-mounted solar panels are scarce and that no conclusions can be drawn.
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One Of The More Interesting Questions That People Have About Home Solar Panels Is Whether They Increase Your Cancer Risk This Article Looks At The Science Behind This Question
Home solar panels are a new concept to many homeowners, so its understandable if there are some misconceptions out there.
One of the myths you can find on the internet is that solar panels are associated with cancer. The supposed reason is that a solar array emits non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, which some people falsly believe is carcinogenic.
Its not. Solar panels do not cause cancer. A properly functioning solar system doesnt emit any more EM radiation that the electrical wires that are already in your home do. In any case, there is no scientifically established connection between non-ionizing EM fields and cancer. Also, the electricity generated by solar panels is direct current , which doesnt generate EM fields like AC-carrying wires do. Finally, silicon solar cells, the most common photovoltaic technology in use, doesnt contain any toxic materials.
The only possible way that solar panels might cause cancer is if you ate them. Certain types of thin-film solar cells are made with cadmium telluride and gallium arsenide, which are classified as carcinogens. So, dont eat thin-film solar cells. But home solar panels are almost always made with non-toxic silicon cells.
Health concerns about modern technology are understandable, and solar photovoltaic systems are made up of a lot of different components. Hereâs a look at each of them in detail.
Do Solar Panels Interfere With Wifi
No, your solar energy system will not interfere with WiFi in your home or office. For the most part, the entire system is enclosed within the panels, wiring, and inverter.
The only part of a solar system that is at all related to WiFi would be a smart meter that is reading the amount of electricity created. These meters use radio waves to transmit information the same way a WiFi router does.
However, these signals will not interfere with one another.
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