Why SVTC Created a Lifecycle Website

February 29th, 2012

At SVTC, we’ve learned that just because we can’t always see pollution does not mean that it doesn’t exist.  This is certainly the case for solar energy.  Solar panels, after all, don’t belch smoke or emit horrible odors from dirty smoke stacks. So it’s difficult to imagine that the panels that sit passively on your rooftop can come with some pretty toxic impacts.

We’ve created a visual website to help illustrate some of these potential risks that we are warning about.

When you visit SVTC’s Solar Lifecycle website, you will be guided through each stage of a solar panel’s life and the associated risks – from the mining of materials used to create a solar panel to the eventual disposal of a panel at the end of its life. Today the website illustrates the two most common types of solar panels – polysilicon and cadmium telluride.

The making of a solar panel is pretty complicated. We’ve taken all of the scientific information and drilled down to the essential information to help you understand the impacts on the surrounding environment (soil, air, water) and workers and nearby communities.

For 30 years SVTC has watched the electronics industry stumble from one environmental and health crisis to the next and we’ve successfully advocated for a cleaner and safer industry since the first toxic chemical spills in the early 1980s.  Unfortunately, many of the same technologies and processes are used to make electronics and solar panels – and SVTC certainly does not want to see  solar make some of the same fatal mistakes as the electronics industry.

We are optimistic that we can build a truly clean energy supply that is safe and sustainable for our planet and all of its inhabitants.  But we need to think critically and learn from past mistakes to help today’s vital solar energy industry expand in a sustainable way.

Act today.  Arm yourself with knowledge.  Visit SVTC’s newly launched Solar Lifecycle website.