Problems with recycling solar panels and wind resistance of turbines
Where do used solar panels end? Due to the expensive and underdeveloped recycling process, they go straight to landfills. According to the forecasts of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the amount of waste from photovoltaics may amount to 78 million tonnes by 2050, provided that customers use their panels throughout the entire 30-year life cycle of the equipment. Meanwhile, according to the statistical model of experts, e.g. INSEAD, which assumes the earlier replacement of panels on private homes, could generate 50 times more waste from them in just four years. And we should add to that waste panels on commercial and industrial buildings. Therefore, adequate development of solar panel recycling, comprehensive end-of-life infrastructure – including dismantling and transport – and adequate waste storage facilities are necessary.
Can wind turbines cope with hurricane winds? Increasingly, turbines are designed to withstand tropical cyclones. It is, for example, a “typhoon-proof” floating wind turbine that will soon supply electricity to an offshore oil platform in China. The 7.25 MW turbine can withstand winds of almost 216 km/h for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in 2015 during Hurricane Patricia in the eastern Pacific, the strongest winds on record reached 346 km/h. In addition, despite the construction of turbines’ technological progress, their failure rate has increased over time. According to GCube Insurance, related offshore wind losses have increased from £1m in 2012 to over £7m in 2021.