(RightWing.org) – There’s nothing inherently wrong with green energy sources, in principle. However, like with all emerging technologies, proper studies must precede their widespread use. For instance, using ethanol as a renewable fuel source initially seemed like a good idea until researchers discovered that producing it used more energy resources than it saved. As it turns out, solar farms may suffer the same fate due to their recently revealed side effects.
On May 30, The Epoch Times published an article discussing the adverse side effects accompanying the use of solar farms, massive expanses of solar panels used to convert the sun’s rays into electricity using photovoltaic cells.
California currently operates nearly 800 solar power plants that produce roughly 17% of the Golden State’s electricity. San Jose State University environmental studies professor Dr. Dustin Mulvaney, Ph.D., discussed his mounting concerns about their use. He explained that the widespread use of solar farms could deplete underground water supplies by heating the surface area.
Wildlife advocacy groups say solar farms can displace animal habitats and disrupt migratory patterns of land animals and birds. They also warn that the extreme heat generated by the reflective panels can instantly incinerate animals that stray too close.
Those concerns are reflected in several research papers released over the last few years. For instance, the University of Arizona published a study in the first week of January 2023 detailing the negative impacts of solar power. The 12-page report listed four environmental concerns.
- Land usage: solar farms can create “land degradation and habitat loss.”
- Water consumption: Some solar panels can exhaust water supplies depending on location, design, and cooling systems.
- Hazardous materials: Manufacturing some solar panels requires the use of harmful chemicals. Improper use and disposal will cause environmental and public health problems.
- Local heating: Solar panels “may cause [localized] heating of the ground and surrounding area,” creating environmental damage.
Alarmingly, the Department of Energy published a webpage raising serious questions regarding how solar energy production interacts with the environment and wildlife. Yet, the agency doesn’t provide any answers. Instead, it discusses various ongoing studies led by the Solar Energy Technologies Office without offering insight into when they might conclude their research or the next steps once their data becomes available.
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