How Green is Solar?

solar panel manufacturing

Solar power is labelled as a clean renewable source and this is true as it doesn’t require any fossil fuels or release anything harmful into the atmosphere whilst being used.

The only thing it really requires is some sunlight! There are, however, some beliefs that the manufacturing of solar panels maybe where there is an environmental impact, the main impact being the materials used during the manufacturing process. Most manufacturers, however, recycle these materials to lessen the impact on the environment rather than throwing them away.

Materials such as quartz come from mining and then have to be heated to produce silicon and it is this process where chemicals and energy are involved. After the panels have been made, they usually produce clean energy for 30 years or longer, so that does pose the question of whether the process of making solar panels is outweighed by the positive impacts they have on the environment? – Read more here

Well, the negatives are small compared to the positives and if you compare the process used to make the panels, with that of using fossil fuels such as coal and gas,then there is little negative at all. With solar energy storage gradually becoming more available, the process is even more efficient and greener. 

Solar panels,when being used, do not pollute our atmosphere with any greenhouse gases and do not produce emissions, therefore making them a renewable, clean option. Of course, with every year that passes, new technology is being produced meaning they are becoming much more efficient than ever before and the ability to store the power they produce means their carbon footprint is further reduced. Panel recycling is also becoming more efficient, which is great news for the environment!

Which solar panels are best?

Solar panels have come a long way since they first began, being now much more advanced and making them not only more efficient, but more aesthetically pleasing too. The main types of solar panel available are:

Monocrystalline solar panels: these kinds of solar panels take up less space than the polycrystalline panels but are about the same efficiency. However, these kinds of panels can be more expensive.

Polycrystalline solar panels: the process to make these panels is much simpler which makes them cheaper, however they are slightly less efficient at high temperatures but not enough for residential purposes to worry about. They do, however, require more space as you tend to need more of them.

Thin film solar cells: these work by using substrate and photovoltaic cells and use several layers of the material placed onto a substrate base. There are various materials that can be used, they are simple to produce en mass and can be cheaper – they can also be flexible.

Amorphous silicon solar cell: these usually have several layers which are stacked to increase their efficiency, however compared to other types these are less efficient.

Biohybrid solar cell:  these have been made to utilize a more natural method of photosynthesis by combining organic and non-organic matter which means almost 100% efficiency. They do, however, produce less power overall.

The best solar panel to choose really depends on what you need it for, how much space is available and what your budget is etc. Other things to consider would be battery storage and which way your property faces.



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