California Doesn’t Know What to Do With Solar Roofing Waste


California went big on solar roofing 20 years ago, and 1.3 million solar panel rooftops later, they hadn’t prepared for the waste. Yahoo News reports that only 1 in 10 solar panel roofs are recycled because recycling is so difficult.

Millions of these babies coming California’s way.

California ideologues incentivized them, and they’re now 15% of the state’s power.

It’s only 15% of the state’s power, and they’re potentially poisoning landfills with them as they reach the end of their expected lifetimes. Yet they want more of this.


Many are already winding up in landfills, where in some cases, they could potentially contaminate groundwater with toxic heavy metals such as lead, selenium, and cadmium.

Although 80% of a typical photovoltaic panel is made of recyclable materials, disassembling them and recovering the glass, silver, and silicon is extremely difficult.

Sam Vanderhoof, a solar industry expert and chief executive of Recycle PV Solar, says that only 1 in 10 panels are recycled, according to estimates drawn from International Renewable Energy Agency data on decommissioned panels and industry leaders.

The looming challenge over handling truck loads of waste, some of it contaminated, illustrates how environmental policy can create unforeseen problems down the road.

Except they should have foreseen it.

“The industry is supposed to be green,” Vanderhoof said. “But in reality, it’s all about the money.”

No kidding!

“This trash is probably going to arrive sooner than we expected, and it is going to be a huge amount of waste,” said Serasu Duran, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business in Canada. “But while all the focus has been on building this renewable capacity, not much consideration has been put on the end of life of these technologies.”

Duran co-wrote a recent article in the Harvard Business Review that noted the industry’s “capacity is woefully unprepared for the deluge of waste that is likely to come.”

Do you mean they went into this blindly, not knowing what they’re doing? Did ideology beat out all common sense? Who could have predicted that? Everyone?


5 2 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tim Kuehl
Tim Kuehl
1 year ago

And don’t forget all those ugly windmills. Not only is the reliability of their generation questionable, but when their blades come to the end of their useful life, like the solar panels, they can’t be recycled either so fill up the landfills. So much for green energy being “green.”