Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Hailstorm In Texas Destroys Thousands Of Acres Of Solar Farms

Close up of the destruction from ABC 13 Houston. Picture: screenshot from news video.

Since our first blog was founded on the now defunct platform blog.co.uk Boggart Bloggers have consistently expressed scepticism about the push to switch electricity generation from reliable, well established sources to technologies that are dependent on the weather and the time of day.

One of the concerns we expressed was the vulnerability of wind turbines and solar panels to extreme weather. Well nearly 20 years later here's the latest news story that proves out concerns wer justified.

Last Saturday was a night Nick Kaminski and other residents of  Guy in Fort Bend county, Texas will remember for the rest of thir lives. A frak hailstorm hit the community, the wind tore off rooves while golf ball-sized hailstones hammered down from the clouds.

"The hailstorm we experienced Saturday morning was unimaginable," Kaminski told TV news reporters "We've never seen anything like it in our lifetime."

Damage to homes was not the only thing they people of Guy had to worry about. Kaminsky said he could not believe his eyes when saw what the storm had done to panels in the huge solar farm in the town.

"They look like somebody took a shotgun and blasted it into the air and let the pellets fall down and shatter holes all in them," Kaminski said.

Panels from the Fighting Jays Solar Farm in Guy had been shattered by the hail. Shots of the farm from a Drone showed thousands of rows of shattered panels - damage more concerning to the people living in the area than what happened to their homes.

Experts said that for most large solar farms the panels are made of cadmium telluride.

This is something Kaminski is worried about because he uses well water.

"That's what we take a shower with, we drink with," Kaminski explained. "It could be in our water now."

Experts said solar panels can be made from silicon or cadmium telluride. Most home panels are made with silicon and don't contain dangerous chemicals. However cadmium telluride panels are cheaper and tend to be found on large commercial solar farms.

 ABC13 News went inside the office space at Fighting Jays Solar and asked whether the compound cadmium telluride was present in the panels damaged by the hail storm.

A spokesperson met the ABC13 team but wouldn't answer questions on the record. The solar farm's website doesn't mention anything about chemicals in the solar panels but states that insurance policies will cover a hailstorm if it hits.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, cadmium telluride is found in some solar panels. It is a toxic substance that can cause kidney, heart, skin, and lung issues. An independent expert said there is little risk of contamination as the compound, though toxic, does not dissolve in water.

Fort Bend County officials told ABC13 they knew about the hailstorm damage. They said HAZMAT crews had visited the area and found no contamination. They also told ABC13 that the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality is investigating and could have an update as soon as Friday.

Neighbors want to see these results as they try deal with the fallout from a hailstorm they'll never forget.

They are right to be concerned of course, We The People have been let down, misled, lied to and shat upon far to many times to accept the word of experts or officials on anything. In this case the Boggart Blog team is happy that there is little danger of pollution (but wee are a long way from the scene of the damage, but we feel that the incident again shows that the scientists, experts and officials who have promoted the switch to clean, green, sustainable generating technologies we led by sentiment rather than science and are totally clueless about the shortcomings of the technologies they tell us will provide all our electricity in future. 


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