Is your eco-friendly solar product made through eco-responsible production?
Solar power has long shown its potential as a clean source of energy but like many other consumer products it has seen a growing concern over pollution and waste created during production process. The question arises—are solar panels actually "green"?
Harnessing solar energy, generally, does not cause pollution or carbon emissions. However, there are emissions associated with the manufacturing, transportation, and installation of solar power systems. The carbon footprint of solar panel production depends where it was produced, taking into consideration the primary fuel that the region relies on for its energy. For example, a 2014 study (https://www.anl.gov/article/solar-panel-manufacturing-is-greener-in-europe-than-china-study-says) found that solar panels made in China have a higher overall carbon footprint than those made in Europe. The biggest reason, the study says, is that China has fewer environmental and efficiency standards for its factories and plants and generates more electricity from coal and other non-renewable sources.
Solar waste is proving to be another problem. The life expectancy of solar panels is about 30 years before decommissioning, but what happens after its death? Solar panels often contain lead, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals that cannot be removed without breaking apart the entire panel. It is concluded that solar panel disposal in regular landfills is not recommended in case modules break and toxic materials leach into the soil. Disposal is posed to be a potentially major issue.
Can solar producers take responsibility?
Solar power is a sustainable source of energy, dependent only on solar radiation, and capable of delivering electricity into our homes. In terms of environmental friendliness, it exceeds traditional forms of energy such as fossil fuels. But if solar power is to be a genuine environmental benefit to us, then it cannot be left to accumulate as waste and its production cannot continue to be subpar.
While the clean energy produced by solar panels quickly compensates for the energy required to manufacture them, the industry can continue to improve its practices and make mindful eco-designs top of its priority. Recycling processes should be put in place and further researches are required to reach the full potential of adequately recycling all solar panel components.
As environmentally conscious consumer, you can contribute make a positive impact by requesting information from installers concerning the manufacturers of their products. You should also support manufacturers that provide transparent information to groups pursuing sustainable solutions. With consumer choice indicating a preference for environmentally-friendly manufacturers, the industry will continue moving toward an even greener future.
Solaready Philippines partners only with manufacturers that are part of a network that effectively recycles panels. Solaready PH is one with manufacturers and consumers alike that envision responsible production and disposal becoming the green and cost-effective norm.
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