"Solar is toxic" is a claim often propagated on social media, but the fact is, it simply isn't true. This misinformation was deliberately created by big oil companies attempting to impede the widespread adoption of renewable energy. They falsely argue that the manufacturing process of solar panels is energy-intensive, produces toxic byproducts, and depletes the world's silicon supply at an alarming rate.
However, the truth is that 96% of solar panels installed globally consist of silicon crystalline PV cells encased in polymer material and protected by glass. These panels do not contain toxic materials, except for a trace amount of lead used in the solder. To put things into perspective, your car and household appliances, such as your fridge, are more toxic to the environment than solar panels.
It is essential to note that the claim about solar panels being toxic refers to outdated technology, such as thin-film or 'amorphous' solar panels, which utilized toxic gases. However, these obsolete panels have been phased out for many years, thanks to significant advancements in the efficiency of silicon crystalline solar cells. As a result, modern solar systems do not release toxins into the environment, thus preventing pollution.
While the lead content in solder can be considered toxic, it's important to highlight that the industry is actively phasing out lead from solar energy systems. Additionally, the solar panel recycling sector is well-prepared to handle the upcoming demand for recycling as most panels have not yet reached their 25-year lifespan. Manufacturers are continuously developing more sustainable products with longer lifespans, further reducing the need for frequent replacements.
The commitment of the solar industry to sustainability is evident in its continuous research and development efforts. By improving the recyclability of solar panels, valuable materials like silicon, glass, aluminum, and even trace amounts of lead can be recovered and reused.
Let's dispel the myth that solar is toxic to the environment and recognize the industry's dedication to sustainability throughout the entire lifecycle of solar panels. By embracing solar power, we contribute to a cleaner, greener future while reducing our dependence 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!