Gallery: Solar Industry Responsible for Dumping 2.4 Million Tons of Lea...


It turns out that some members of the solar panel manufacturing industry might actually be doing harm while advancing renewable energy by dumping millions of tons of lead into the environment in China and India. It’s something we’ve heard before — Apple had issues last year with this very problem — a big company, supposedly doing good while skirting environmentally safe manufacturing protocols during the process. A University of Tennessee engineering professor just released a study revealing the solar industry’s dirty ways, noting that lead pollution can lead to cardiovascular issues, central nervous system damage, kidney failure, reproductive issues and learning disabilities and violent behavior in children.

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  1. xenoscape September 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I don’t understand the problem. Wasn’t the lead in the environment in the first place? It’s not like they imported it from an asteroid, adding something new to our environment. Do the manufactures have lead run off into rivers? Is it being boxed in landfills? How do you responsibly take care of lead waste?

  2. biostruct September 4, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Can’t wait until Paul Hawken’s company OneSun enters the market, they seem to be up to some good stuff in terms of producing non-toxic solar panels.

  3. caeman September 2, 2011 at 8:38 am

    The solar industry is at blame, just as much as Apple is for not holding its supplier accountable to environmentally conscious practices. The solar panel makers know what their Chinese suppliers are doing, though they may claim otherwise. There mere act of choosing lead-acid batteries leads to this result.

    Those Thorium reactors are starting to look not so dirty.

  4. azbra September 1, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    You’re not wrong about the consequences of the lead-based battery industry in China and India. The paper is legit, and so are the concerns. But you need to understand that the solar industry in China doesn’t care so much about environmental issues. Their first world customers do. And in China and India, when they utilize PV & battery technology to advance their quality of life from no light and no refrigerator to one light and a dorm room fridge, rest assured that they couldn’t care less about where the batteries came from or how they got made, as long as the medicine stays cold. Cause they’re not hip to living ‘off-grid’.
    So don’t blame ‘the solar industry’. You should be shaming Chinese and Indian manufacturing. Better yet, write about how important it is for the US consumer to buy American Solar PV products that Bucky could be proud of.

  5. caeman September 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Batteries. Gas.

    We are doomed either way.

  6. egalitare September 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Does no good to create true renewable energy systems if the entire processing/waste stream isn’t properly accounted for. Yes, it costs more, but managing wastes and by-products properly also creates jobs. At the cost of the Financial Elites getting wealthier at a slower rate. I can live with that.

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