Dr. David Nguyen, a cancer biologist, remarked, “The toxic chemicals in solar panels include cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide, copper indium gallium (di)selenide, hexafluoroethane, lead, and polyvinyl fluoride. Additionally, silicon tetrachloride, a byproduct of producing crystalline silicon, is highly toxic.”
Silicon tetrachloride, the byproduct of making wafers for monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, is highly toxic and its improper handling can cause skin burns, pollute the air, cause lung disease, and, when exposed to water it releases hydrochloric acid (HCl), a corrosive substance.
There are no salvageable parts on a solar panel so it must be decomposed, and the chemicals disposed of properly.
Solar power may not produce greenhouse gases while consumers use it, but it does releaseharmful chemicals during production. One such chemical is nitrogen trifluoride, which, according to Ray Weiss, a professor of geochemistry at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is 17,000 stronger than carbon dioxide.
According toDeutsche Welle, Sulphur hexafluoride, a greenhouse gas released during solar panel production, is 22,800 times more potent than CO2.