While solar panels don’t damage the environment by producing harmful carbon emissions, they could be creating an ecological disaster in areas surrounding landfills. According to CNN, California pushed 1.3 million families to install solar panels on their homes years ago. They are now seeing the downside to using solar panels.
University of Arizona’s Natalie Click says the panels contain toxic metals selenium and cadmium. These have been shown to contaminate groundwater when disposed of in landfills. “People just don’t realize that there are toxic materials in those electronics. It’s fine if it’s just sitting in a box in your house. But once it gets crushed and put into the landfill, a lot of those toxic chemicals and materials are going to leak into your groundwater.”
Another solar industry expert, Sam Vanderhoof, says the panels can be recycled. “That would spare groundwater of the toxic chemicals. But only one out of every 10 panels is actually recycled. The industry is supposed to be green, but, in reality, it’s all about the money.”