Hazards of solar power

Written by crystal lee
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Hazards of solar power
Solar panels contend with animal life for land use. (Johannes Kroemer/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The omnipresent call to save the environment and "go green" creates a booming industry for renewable energy resources. Solar power, a popular renewable resource gaining popularity, uses the natural energy of the sun. However, solar energy contains hazards affecting the exact environment it intends to protect, as well as the Earth's inhabitants.

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Fire Hazard

The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) identifies hazards affecting fire prevention services with solar panel use. Firefighters must distinguish between the type of solar power used to work efficiently in the event of a fire. Geothermal and photovoltaic panels present different challenges to stopping a fire. Without knowledge the type of panel used, firefighters' safety may be at risk. Hazards apparent in both types include flame spread, slipping and structural collapse due to added weight.

Biodiversity Hazard

The land required to solar power the world impedes habitats and entire ecosystems of various wildlife. A lack of biodiversity and increasing numbers of endangered species may result from widespread use of solar energy. Surveying and maintaining land for possible solar power plants requires constant human intervention through areas harbouring animal habitats. The deterioration of habitats can cause displacement and possible death to the inhabitants. This threat to the animal population is a biodiversity hazard of solar power.

Human Hazard

Solar energy presents hazards to the human population as well. Glint and glare potentially present hazards to the eyes. Glint, a quick flash of light, and glare, a continuous exposure to bright, render human eyes susceptible to injury. Retinal burn and flash blindness may occur. Motorists and workers at nearby construction sites as well as pilots flying overhead comprise the list of those most vulnerable to such hazards.

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