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Discuss how safe are they? Discuss the hidden pollution caused by solar panels.

Omololu Oyebola's picture

Recently solar energy conversion has been used to generate electricity. The generation of electricity using photo voltaic (PV) modules or panels is the most common method, because  PV modules do not emit toxic gases and greenhouse gases as compared to energy generation using fossil fuel, they are considered relatively safe [1]

Under normal use, solar energy panel is safe for electricity generation, and does not endanger the life of people living with/around them. Statistics of the Oregon Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding [2], shows that  although, the panels posses some electromagnetic materials, emission from them do not reach near the threshold at which human lives are endangered.

Solar power is generated from the sun, it does not generate any solid mass as waste and this makes it environmentally safe, also the noise level is low as there are no moving parts associated with the setup as compared to mechanical generators, windmills and turbines.

It is affluent free as no fossil fuel is required in any of its energy generation process, thus no carbon monoxide emission.

However, as with all other energy sources, there are health and safety hazards associated with the use of solar modules all through their life.  

Some of the safety issues associated with the use of solar panel are;

  • Release of harmful metals: Most of the individual solar cells are joined together using Lead, Zinc and copper wire coated with tin, with exposure time and these metal decomposes and affect the environment
  • Fire Event: In the event of fire, the semiconductors also release harmful fumes which pose great risk to human lifes
  • Disposal issues: if not well disposed after use, some of the crystalline modules can be eroded to nearby sea water.
  • Reflection: The panels if littered around a location, can cause reflection to a zone far away from it, this can cause blinding effect to home users in the vicinity.


[1] "Health and safety concerns of photo-voltaic Solar panels" Accessed October 22, 2010

[2] U.S. Dept. of Energy (2010). "Photovoltaic Basics." Accessed October 22, 2010 at

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