Are Solar Panels Safe?
Are Solar Panels Safe for Your Home?
When solar panels are brought up in a conversation with someone who isn’t clued up on them, they ask safety questions. Many ask if solar panels cause cancer or if having a solar panel installed on a roof cause it to come crumbling down.
We’re here to break down whether solar panels are truly safe to use and whether those risks outweigh the many environmental benefits it offers. Before we can answer the question of whether solar panels are safe, we should get an understanding of how they work.
Solar Panel Process
The sun is a big ball of fire that gives off light energy, that much we know. In its purest form, we can’t make use of that energy, not unless we have a solar panel.
If you ask yourself what’s in a solar panel, you will think of materials such as metals and coatings. However, a solar panel is more than just metal.
A solar panel is made up of photovoltaic, more commonly known, as solar cells that are used to generate electricity by harnessing the sun’s natural energy. Photo refers to light, and voltaic is the production of electricity.
The solar cells are layered, with each layer providing its function. 2 semiconductor silicon layers are like a battery in that one layer is positive while the other is negatively charged. There are a few other metals used in solar panels, though in significantly smaller quantities.
The other metals include the silver-plated and grid layers, as well as the aluminum frame on the exterior. The other 2 layers consist of an anti-reflection coating and a layer of glass.
The former is used to hold incoming energy by canceling out the reflection on the top and bottom of the layer, while the latter is an extra measure of safety and protection to the inner layers.
Radiation from the sun is absorbed by the semiconductors and is transformed into direct current. This then flows into a solar inverter transforming the power into alternating current.
This process repeats itself over and over in a quiet manner, and the inverter is piped through a meter from the main panel. This brings power to the house.
So with all that being said, if they are using the sun’s natural energy, are solar panels renewable?
The energy that solar panels produce is renewable, as it comes from the sun which is going to be around for at least a few hundred million more years.
The panels themselves, however, are not renewable. They use metal and other materials that are limited. Thankfully, though, most of those materials are abundant and recyclable. Paired with the long lifespan of solar panels, they’re definitely better for the environment than electricity generated through fossil fuels.
When it comes to safety and answering the question of whether solar panels are safe, we need to look at more than just the design of the panel.
Solar panels are beneficial to those using them in terms of saving money, but it's also beneficial to the environment around us.
Solar panels provide a clean and reliable way to power your appliances and home. They don’t emit any toxic waste or gasses and acts as a key measure in the battle against climate change.
Burning fossil fuels causes air pollution and that leads to damaging effects such as acid rain, damage to crops, and causing harm to our wildlife.
Fossil fuels are limited compared to solar energy. As long as the sun exists, you can freely power your appliances and homes by using a solar panel. Once earth’s fossil fuels are used up, that’s the end of the road.
Making use of traditional electricity by burning fossil fuels is not only damaging the environment, but it’s damaging your bank account too.
Having to constantly fill up on gas when powering up a generator or paying a ridiculously high power bill at the end of the month are cons that fade away when investing in solar panels.
Solar panels allow you to go green and reduce your carbon footprint, but it also allows you to save money and not have to pay such a hefty electricity bill. Every year, power goes up by 5 to 15%, making your life a living nightmare. The price of energy, however, doesn’t have an increase.
Having a solar panel hooked up to your meter will cut down on the amount of energy you would normally use. Any electricity that you don’t use from your inverter will be sent back to the grid, turning the clock on your meter backward.
Structural Design Safety
The glass used in solar panels is tempered.
This glass is another reason why solar panels are safe should they no longer function or if the glass breaks as tempered glass shatters into smaller pieces.
Solar panels are heavy, and if you are planning to set up an array on your roof, you need to ensure that your roof can handle its weight of it. For example, if you have a roof that isn’t well maintained and looked after, then yes, your solar panel could end up in your living room.
Positioning of your roof is very important too. If you have a roof facing south with a tilt of around 45 degrees, you will yield the best results in terms of energy production.
However, when installing solar panels on a roof, surely a team of professionals will come out and do the appropriate measurements and analysis.
Solar panels have a life expectancy of 30 to 40 years, so you won’t need to be replacing your units any time soon. These bad boys are built to withstand harsh storms and heavy snowfall, and their aluminum frame and splash-proof glass ensure that is true.
Also, because there are no moving parts and the unit produces at a much lower current than alternatives, solar panels are significantly better for fire safety.
The Cancer Myth
The biggest concern for newcomers into the world of solar panels is the risk of cancer.
There’s a lot of misinformation online about the risk of solar panels since they use terms like ‘electromagnetism’ and ‘radio waves.’ In truth, the level of these fields are so low that they don’t pose any risk to your health.
You should be wary about the materials used in the panels. These include cadmium telluride and gallium arsenide, both of which are highly toxic, and being exposed to them can lead to lung and liver failure. However, these materials are safely enclosed in the structure of the panels to keep you from being exposed.
These hazardous materials are within set limits and are not left exposed for users to inhale.
Solar panels have also been designed in such a way as to guarantee safe disposal of the unit once it's seen its days.
Solar panels are safe. As much as we can mention the hazardous materials located inside of the system itself, they are contained and safeguarded from the outside world.
Since solar panels and solar cells have a layered approach, barriers of glass and metal keep everything inside.
They won’t bring you any harm, but they will save you and the environment. Make the smart decision and go solar.
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