The letter to the editor in the Aug. 4 State Journal "Renewable energy isn't reliable yet" was critical of solar power but seemed to ignore the world we live in.
Solar panels have to be recycled as hazardous waste because they contain heavy metals, true. Coal contains mercury which just goes into the air when burned. Gasoline contains benzene. Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury. Fluorescent ballasts contain PCBs. And let's not even talk about the sulfurs in fuels and what they do. The list goes on.
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We are surrounded by toxins. But because a lobby isn't pointing them out, they go unnoticed. True, solar doesn't work at night and wind doesn't work when it's not windy. Solar works in the dark from batteries, and batteries have gotten a lot better. With a reliable power grid we can move power from where it is sunny to where it is cloudy.
Our planet receives more energy from sunlight than we can use in a day. What we need to do is figure out how to make it work, and the way to do that is to fund research into panel construction (maybe we can get rid of the toxins) and battery technology.
Derek Popp, Mount Horeb