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The Lockean Project

Solar panels

“Solar panels” — Monterey Herald, May 22, 2021

From Reuters on March 26, we learn that Joe Biden launched a plan to increase the toxic content in solar panels. Solar panels routinely contain substantial amounts of arsenic, cadmium and other toxins; however, to achieve Biden’s goal of cheaper solar panels, he has earmarked $128 million in taxpayer dollars to encourage research and manufacturing techniques that will add substantially more toxins to solar panels. Funds will specifically go toward methods for increasing cadmium telluride contents. Biden’s pledge includes using more Perovskite solar cells, which add lead or tin halide-based material, as the light-harvesting active layer. Perovskite cells, such as methylammonium lead halides and cesium lead halide, are cheap to produce and simple to manufacture.

The reason this matter is important is that many panels leach toxins into the soil from rainwater, and large amounts of arsenic, lead and cadmium have entered soils after wildfire destruction of homes with solar panels. In addition, there is no national standard for solar panel recycling. Biden missed the chance for that protection during the Obama administration. By the way, where is Congressman Panetta, in watching out for us with these toxins?

— C. Michael Hogan, Carmel

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