Articles‎ > ‎

The Dark Side to Solar Power

posted Nov 21, 2016, 10:18 AM by Noelle Griffin   [ updated Dec 1, 2016, 8:31 AM ]

Alum News

PV panels
Have you ever thought about solar power panels expiration dates? Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are made with heavy metals and other toxic materials. They cannot simply be thrown away, because they are so harmful to the environment and to people. 

That is precisely why PCGS Alumna Karla Kemp is talking about the End of Life Cycle Management of Solar Panels at the Renewable Energy World International conference on December 14th, in Orlando, FL. 

Photovoltaic cells (otherwise known as solar cells) are cells that convert sunlight directly into electricity. PV solar panels became widely available between the 1970's and the 1990's and with an average lifespan of 25-30 years. Now, we are seeing the first big group of them reaching the end of life.

"With high level of toxicity involved, standard end of life waste management practices are not feasible, leaving a serious problem for waste management and public health concerns," Karla said. "Recycling options are dependent on factors such as regulatory framework, panel design, recycling process, material recovery and price, thus creating the necessity for uniform regulatory practices."

End of life management for these PV solar panels is essential to further the renewable energy movement. "Research and development in new technological advances will enable significant improvements in technological efficiency, availability, and successfully be able to eliminate the reliance on fossil fuels," Karla said. "[All] while eliminating potential environmental impacts, enhancing the market share of renewable power."

You can learn all about PV life analysis and end of life management from Karla at the Renewable Energy World International conference by registering here! (Student discount rates available.)

This is not to stray anyone away from using solar energy however, as it is still a source of renewable energy that is better for our environment, but we should be aware of ways to properly dispose of the metals and glass that PV solar panels are made from. CLICK HERE for a qualified recycler.