Marsh Gratner of Sulphur Springs has always liked the idea of solar panels and even thought about putting some on her house.

Gratner was one of several Henry County residents who spoke to the planning commission this week about concerns or suggestions for the county’s future solar ordinance.

Gratner wanted the planning commission to think long-term with their regulations.

Those panels may be environmentally-friendly while turning sunlight into electricity, but it takes heavy metals like cadmium and lead to hold the works together.

Gratner provided an article by solar panel designer DualSun stating 94.7 percent of each solar panel is recyclable.

According to EnergySage.com, solar panels last about 30 years. The current technology starts to break down around Decade Three and needs replaced.

EnergySage said recycling the panels also saves rare elements, like gallium and indium, that are used in the photovoltaic cells.

A 2016 study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimated that $15 billion could be recovered from recycling solar modules by the year 2050.

At the time of that study, the United States was the fourth largest provided of solar energy in the world, behind China, Germany and Japan.

The study also found, however, there were no PV-specific waste law in the US and no regulations mandating the collection and recycling of end-of-life PV panels.

The Henry County Planning Commission is taking recommendations for the solar ordinance, including decommissioning procedures.

Send suggestions to djacobs@henryco.net before Aug. 14 to have them considered by the planning commission.
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