Making solar panels greener
Companies must choose more environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and plan for the photovoltaic panels' safe disposal if they want it to be considered as green technology. Photovoltaic companies are increasingly setting up programs that will collect and recycle panels after their 20-25-year lifespan. Most companies are looking to reduce the amount of energy required to produce photovoltaics, thereby improving the bottom line and environmental profile of manufacturing. Researchers in both academia and industry are also starting to scrutinize the photovoltaic production process to figure out which chemicals could and should be replaced. Many scientists have tried developing more-energy-efficient ways to purify and crystallize silicon. Solon and other firms, including SolarWorld and Japans Mitsubishi Electric, are striving to reduce and even eliminate lead from photovoltaic products.
Everts, S. (2011). Making solar panels greener. doi:10.1021/CEN021511170038