Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Teresa Sabol Spezio
© 2017 Taylor Haas
While solar energy presents the possibility of a low-carbon energy world, the solar industry has its own environmental impacts. Data on end-of-life management of photovoltaics (PV) remains scarce and as more solar panels reach the end of their lifespan, systems for their appropriate management need to be created. Because PV modules contain small amounts of hazardous materials, panels cannot be landfilled without some processing. Additionally, by not addressing the problem of PV waste and failing to create a system for management, an unintended consequence of shipping PV waste abroad remains possible. As a leader in environmental problem solving and a large installer of solar power, California has a responsibility to plan for PV end-of-life and to create policy for sustainable management practices. Using the existing extended producer responsibility and product stewardship policies and programs in California for mattresses, carpets, and beverage containers, policymakers can establish a program for the sustainable management of PV waste. Learning from these policies’ successes and failures, California legislators can push the solar industry to innovate and think about the impacts of their product at all stages in the life cycle.
Haas, Taylor, "Sustainable End-of-Life Management for Photovoltaic Waste in California" (2018). Scripps Senior Theses. 1157.
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