Hazardous Materials

1. Hazardous Materials

One of the more common concerns towards solar is that the panels (referred to as “modules” in the solar industry) consist of toxic materials that endanger public health. However, as shown in this section, solar energy systems may contain small amounts of toxic materials, but these materials do not endanger public health. To understand potential toxic hazards coming from a solar project, one must understand system installation, materials used, the panel end-of-life protocols, and system operation. This section will examine these aspects of a solar farm and the potential for toxicity impacts in the following subsections:

  • 1.2 Project Installation/Construction
  • 1.2 System Components
    • 1.2.1 Solar Panels: Construction and Durability
    • 1.2.2 Photovoltaic technologies
      • (a) Crystalline Silicon
      • (b) Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)
      • (c) CIS/CIGS
    • 1.2.3 Panel End of Life Management
    • 1.2.4 Non-panel System Components
  • 1.3 Operations and Maintenance