Photo courtesy of Mischief 78 at Flickr.com.
A major producer of polysilicon is under investigation in China for dumping waste on public land. This flagrant disregard for the safety of local workers has caused many solar power advocates to take a closer look at the business practices of the companies making solar panels. Since many of these companies rely on venture capital to finance their research and expansion (with P/E ratios several times higher than the market average), this black eye could become a major setback. Then again, this negative publicity could produce some pressure on China to enforce environmental regulations by creating demand for safely produced solar panels.
Photo courtesy of nvaughn at Flickr.com.
Side note: Neither solar power companies nor China have an exclusive lock on this kind of hypocrisy. A bio-diesel plant in Alabama was also recently caught illegally dumping waste material.