Are solar panels toxic?

The most common type are not. Crystalline solar panels are mainly silicon and aluminum. The chips are very similar ways to computer chips. They are sandwiched between glass sheets and surrounded by an aluminum frame. No toxic chemicals used.

Some thin-film solar modules use toxic materials such as Cadmium and Telluride, and we don’t usually use those. But even with Cd/Te modules, the only risk of exposure to these elements is during manufacturing. Once the panels are made, the elements are firmly sealed inside of the panel. Tests have shown that no toxins are released, even in a fire.

Cadmium and Telluride are by-products of aluminum mining, so it can be argued that manufacturing solar panels represent a great way to dispose of toxic waste that is being generated to make all kinds of aluminum products, from aircraft parts to beverage cans.

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