Sustainability

Solar panel recycling: Turning ticking time bombs into opportunities

With the average lifespan of a solar panel at roughly 20 years, installations from the early 2000s are set to reach end-of-life. Will they end up in landfill or be recycled? The cost of recycling is higher than landfill, and the value of recovered materials is smaller than the original, so there’s limited interest in recycling. But given the presence of heavy metals, if waste is managed poorly, we’re on track for another recycling crisis.

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It may be safe to put PV panels in landfills, but that doesn’t mean we should

According to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), health risks from lead in crystalline silicon PV panels are one order of magnitude — or about one-tenth — below the risk levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Replacing peakers with storage to achieve the greatest health benefit

Regulators and community groups can use a new interactive resource to see the emissions impacts of existing and proposed peaker units. Storage developers may also find the tool helpful, to identify peakers likely to be replaced.

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Morning Brief: 5 experts predict the future of renewable energy, PG&E has procured more than 1 GW of storage

Also in the brief: Amazon has announced its first solar energy facility in China, the Borough of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and Sun Tribe have agreed to a PPA, Michael Moore has given climate deniers a platform and more.

Overbuilding solar at up to 4 times peak load yields a least-cost all-renewables grid

The global energy firm Wartsila found a least-cost renewables mix for the U.S. that involves overbuilding renewable capacity, but requires no seasonal storage, and needs only four to ten days of multi-day storage capacity. The analysis modeled meeting current uses of electricity, based on projected technology costs for 2030.

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1 MW battery system meets the challenge of supplying power to a remote Alaskan community

Cordova, Alaska, a small fishing community in a remote part of Prince William Sound, has been able to find long periods of fossil fuel independence thanks to a new battery system developed by Saft.

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Pollinator-friendly solar: a feel-good way to make projects cleaner and greener  

Opposition to solar project siting can be turned into broad support by designing projects with “pollinator-friendly” landscaping — a trend gaining momentum across the country.

Duke doubles renewable goals while staying committed to fossils

The utility giant now owns or purchases 8,000 MW of renewable generation, with plans to double that mark by 2025. However, while the company eyes zero-carbon electricity by 2050, it maintains that natural gas will remain a crucial source to achieve this goal.

Sweden joins European trend and exits coal — two years earlier than planned

The Nordic nation is now the third European country to wave goodbye to coal for power generation. Another 11 European states have made plans to follow suit over the next decade.

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Morning Brief: Mysterious Rashba effect detected in bulk perovskites, Zanzibar’s ‘solar mammas’

Also in the brief: SEIA disappointed by USTR’s decision to remove Section 201 tariff exclusions for bifacial solar modules, plus VC investment in energy and grid startups.

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