Are Solar Panels Toxic? No Way!

Written by Tony Chang

July 29, 2022

Are Solar Panels Toxic? No Way!

As the rainwater trickles down the rain-soaked solar panels, some people may be worried that the water carries with it more than dust accumulated on the roof.

While solar panels can generate electricity for more than 25 years, how can we be sure the energy generated is clean and green?

A common question asked by the solar sceptics is:

Are solar panels toxic?

We worked with independent solar equipment testing experts, ITRI, to confirm whether WINAICO solar panels are as clean as advertised.

To confirm the toxicity, or non-toxicity, of a solar panel, the testing experts from ITRI break down the experiment into 2 steps:

  1. A solar module breakage test to expose the panel components.
  2. A water toxicity test checks for the release of toxins.

Solar Module Breakage Test Loosens the Panel Components

A solar panel contains strings of solar cells sandwiched between glass and backsheet.

The lamination process creates a waterproof panel that can withstand heat, water and ice.

To expose particles in the solar panel to test for toxicity, the experts use the Module Breakage Test defined in IEC 61730 to break the glass.

solar module break test before and after
Left) a 45.5 kg pendulum suspended before the solar panel. Right) the solar panel broken by the released pendulum.

The Module Breakage Test experiment involves a 45.5 kg pendulum crashing towards the solar panel from a distance of 1220 mm.

The result is a shattered solar module with broken glass and crumpled laminate.

Water Toxicity Test Checks for Release of Toxins

The broken laminate allows external moisture to contact the solar cells, so we submerge the cracked solar panel under 1 m of water to see if the water becomes contaminated.

solar module in water
The broken solar panel is submerged in 1 m of water for 7 days.

After the water has soaked the broken solar panel for 7 days, the water sample is taken to the lab to analyse for any traces of 25 potentially toxic materials, including Ag, Al, As, Ba, Cd, Hg, Pb, cyanide, and benzene.

The tests proved that WINAICO’s solar panels do not contain any of the 25 potentially toxic materials in the components, so they are safe to install on your roofs to provide green and clean energy.


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