Resolution on Life-Cycle Management of EV Batteries and Solar Panels

Summary

The resolution calls on the federal government to include provisions for solar panel and electric vehicle battery decommissioning, safe handling and resource recovery programs along with general subsidies for solar panels and batteries. The resolution encourages governments at all levels to development public private partnerships and programs for life-cycle management of electric vehicle batters and solar panels.

Resolution on Life-Cycle Management of EV Batteries and Solar Panels

WHEREAS, Congress has placed a high priority on decreasing hydrocarbon fueled electricity generation by increasing the deployment of solar panel (SP) technology, and at the same time encouraged an increase in the number of electric vehicles (EV) in the United States, with the objective of reducing reliance on internal combustion engines; and

WHEREAS, Billions of Taxpayer dollars have been allocated to promote the deployment of SP technology to reduce America’s reliance on hydrocarbon fuels;1 and

WHEREAS, Billions of Taxpayer dollars have been allocated to promote the policy of increasing the number of EV’s in use; and

WHEREAS, research shows that there has been very little, if any allocation of funding to provide for SP and EV battery decommissioning, resource recovery and safe deconstruction and materials disposal, “Automotive Li-ion batteries have only been in large-scale commercialization over the last six years or so and so it will take some time before they are seen in the waste stream in large volumes;”2 and

WHEREAS, research also shows that the technologies needed to recycle where possible and safely dispose of when or if necessary, decommissioned SP’s and EV batteries is not yet mature enough to manage the full life-cycle of such devices, especially when there is, “a huge waste if the battery is recycled at the end of first-application life, especially when the loss of material, particularly lithium, is considered;”and

WHEREAS, the States will likely shoulder the costs associated with improper, and potentially unsafe disposal of decommissioned SP’s and EV batteries, “The problem of solar panel disposal will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment because it is a huge amount of waste which is not easy to recycle;”4 and

WHEREAS, the States have a direct interest in taking proactive environmental protection action, by developing strategies to manage the inevitable end of life cycle issues involving decommissioned SP’s and EV batteries, “states with strong economies tend to support relatively strong environmental protection programs while those with weak economies often support weaker programs;”5 and

WHEREAS, there does not appear to be a national coordinated response to the proper handling of decommissioned SP’s and EV batteries, nor is mention made of holding Taxpayers harmless once the subsidies have been paid out; and

WHEREAS, decommissioned SP’s and EV batteries contain minerals and components that may become toxic when concentrated including Cadmium, Lithium and Cobalt; and

WHEREAS, {State} believes that proper environmental protections are essential to the quality of American life; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that {State} calls upon the United States Congress, and indeed all levels of governments to work cooperatively with the private sector, nonprofits, and academia to develop and support robust solar panel and electric vehicle battery decommissioning, safe handling and resource recovery programs that protect the environment, and that the United States Congress include in all subsidy programs that promote solar panel and electric vehicle deployment, provisions and subsidies for solar panel and electric vehicle battery decommissioning, safe handling and resource recovery programs.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all levels of government identify opportunities for public private partnerships, to leverage existing and emerging technologies to update and or replace the existing waste handling and disposal protocols and requirements to include solar panels and electric vehicle batteries.

  1. U.S. Energy Information Administration (2017). “Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2016. https://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/
    2. Chandan, A. (2017). Back From the “Dead”: The tragedy of lithium ion battery recycling is not a story the recyclers would tell you…but a good news story may be on its way. TCE: The Chemical Engineer, (912), 40–43. Retrieved from: http://search.ebscohost.com.lopesalum.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a2h&AN=123907369&site=ehost-live3. Congressional Research Service, “Weather-related power outages and electric system resiliency,” http://docs.jalite-group.com/data/docs/pdf/R42696.pdf Pg. 41, Pa. 4
    3. ibid, Pg. 242, Pa. 7
    4. Shellenberger, M. (2018). “If solar panels are so clean, why do they produce so much toxic waste? ”, Forbes, May 23, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/05/23/if-solar-panels-are-so-clean-why-do-they-produce-so-much-toxic-waste/#1ed0eae2121c
    5. Graham, M. (1998). Environmental protection & the states…” Brookings Institution, Washington D.C. https://www.brookings.edu/articles/environmental-protection-the-states-race-to-the-bottom-or-race-to-the-bottom-line/