In recent years, the claim that "solar is toxic" has circulated on social media, casting doubt on the environmental benefits of solar power. However, it's time to set the record straight. This misleading narrative was intentionally fabricated by big oil companies seeking to hinder the widespread adoption of renewable energy.
The truth is, 96% of solar panels installed worldwide are composed of silicon crystalline PV cells, encased in polymer material and protected by glass. These panels harness the power of silicone, a non-toxic and abundant element. In fact, everyday household items like cars and refrigerators have a higher environmental toxicity than solar panels.
It's important to recognize that claims of toxicity primarily refer to outdated solar technologies such as thin-film or 'amorphous' panels, which used toxic gases in their manufacturing process. Thankfully, these obsolete panels have long been phased out due to significant advancements in the efficiency of silicon crystalline solar cells. Consequently, modern solar systems do not release toxins into the environment, effectively preventing pollution.
While it's true that solder containing lead can be considered toxic, the solar industry is actively working to phase out lead from solar energy systems. Moreover, the sector is well-prepared to handle the increasing demand for solar panel recycling as most panels have yet to reach their 25-year lifespan. Manufacturers are tirelessly developing more sustainable products with longer lifespans, reducing the need for frequent replacements.
The solar industry's commitment to sustainability is evident through ongoing research and development efforts. By enhancing the recyclability of solar panels, valuable materials such as silicon, glass, aluminum, and even trace amounts of lead can be recovered and reused, minimizing waste and maximizing resource efficiency.
Let's dispel the myth that solar is toxic to the environment and acknowledge the industry's unwavering dedication to sustainability across the entire lifecycle of solar panels. Embracing solar power allows us to tap into the power of silicone and contribute to a cleaner, greener future while reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Join us in harnessing the power of solar energy and working towards a more sustainable planet. Together, we can make a positive impact and build a cleaner, greener future for generations to come!