"Support for climate cast comes from Bank of America as one of the largest global financial institutions Bank of America is in a unique position to help society. Transition to a low-carbon economy Bank of America NA member FDIC. Do we recycle all those solar panels? I'm MPR chief meteorologist, Paul Kutner. This is climate cast. They're popping up all over the place rows of solar panels, lined up in fields catching sunlight, generating power solar panels are a good way to reduce atmosphere greenhouse gas emissions, but they also have electric waste that needs to be recycled. So how will it happen? Dustin Mulvaney as an associate professor of environmental studies at San Jose State university. I talked with him on Skype. Most of solar panel is made of glass, you're gonna have bits silicon a little bit of silver a little bit of lead, some copper some aluminum, but that really makes up less than ten percent or so the solar panel. So when you're dealing with Peavey waste, you really have to be a specialist in understanding how to handle glass and with as many as we've deployed around the United States. For example, a lot of those are still in the field for many years, maybe a decade to come. When is that need that mass need for recycling? Really? Going to celebrate. I'd argue that the need for recycling is already here. We had hurricane hit Puerto Rico in create real tremendous amount of waste in Puerto Rico. We had a tornado takeout somewhere on the order two hundred thousand solar panels in southern California couple of years ago. The big flow of waste is really gonna start coming somewhere on the order fifteen years from now. And where we at now with recycling capability and who's working on the problem. Where should we be in say ten or fifteen years interestingly, they've been working on solar panel recycling technologies really since the nineteen eighties. The national labs have played a really critical leadership role here and several private companies as well, Dustin. We know the huge boom in photovoltaic solar modules is replacing carbon and mercury pollution that was going into the atmosphere and into the lakes, so one way to think about this might be as a trade off. How manageable is the you waste. And solar panels compared to what we've been pumping straight into the atmosphere with power sources like coal. I think it's questionable that there are environmental benefits to solar power, even considering potential end of life waste issues. The issue seems to be very manageable. In fact, it's going to have to be manageable because one of the issues with solar panels is that they rely on some rare in precious metals so in order to really make inroads with solar power. We're going to have to make sure that we recover these way streams in not resort to having to mine. Our landfills in the future to recover these elements, Dustin Mulvaney, associate professor of environmental studies at San Jose State university. Thanks for your insight today. I appreciate talking with you. Thanks so much. My name is Ali tennis. I'm a senior energy planner with the Great Plains institute. I worked with local governments on climate and energy action planning and primarily Minnesota. But also throughout the mid west. I am a cellphone appaluse resident who is an avid biker and has an easy for a backup of call that I've had for months now. So it sits out side we run an extension cord to it that would has worked fine. The thing about the is that the body of the vehicle will not warm up. So you really gotta get out and get up snow off and rice off. I still am not used to the ranging Zaidi. I definitely get that particularly when it's cold, and you kinda really goes miles going down. But otherwise, it's it's worth great returns on colds. Yeah. Reason I was hesitant. And getting e v is that I really kind of visioned myself as being car-free eventually, I think that we also need to think about how we can reduce driving. And I think that maybe an av as a gateway so getting any for environmental reasons, and then starting to bike once a week or take transit once a week or Telecommute and do those kinds of things. And so I think it's certainly part of the picture. But if we're really looking at meaning our goals on climate. We can't just switch one for one and go to electric vehicles. So yes, it is the better option, but it's. The only option. That's climate cast. I'm NPR chief meteorologist, Paul hunter."