Q4 2019: Lead in crystalline silicon modules

pv magazine's first UP Initiative quarterly theme, which ran from October to December 2019, focused on lead in solar. Should lead still be used in solar? Are there realistic alternatives?The global deployment of so much PV is an impressive feat and one that is critical for the renewable energy transition. However, it is essential to consider both future waste volumes, and the materials employed.

Can all modules be safely retrieved in all geographies (many of which do not yet have mandatory waste disposal regulations for solar) and, in the best-case scenario, continually reused? Even if the small amounts of such hazardous elements as lead are “harmless” when considered on an individual level, is this still the case when much larger quantities come into play? Are there non-toxic alternatives? These are the questions pv magazine sought to answer throughout Q4.

pv magazine 09/2019
Lead-free PV?: Presentation of the quarterly theme.

pv magazine 10/2019
A lead-free future for solar PV: An overview of the use of lead in solar modules, and the alternatives.

pv magazine 11/2019
A responsible compromise?: A look at the use of lead in perovskites.

pv magazine 12/2019
Taking the lead: What it would mean for manufacturers to replace lead in their modules with more environmentally friendly materials?

Opinion & analysis
Benefits and risks of lead halide perovskite photovoltaics: A study of the life-cycle lead emissions and toxicity potential of LHP-PVs in comparison to several US grid electricity mixes.

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This page was last updated on February 12, 2021.