How Does Solar Energy Stack Up When Considering Public Health And Safety?
Question: I know solar energy is cheaper and more
environmentally-friendly than conventional gas or oil, but since it’s
a relatively new technology I’m not sure if safe yet. How does
solar energy stack up when considering public health and safety?
Answer: Fortunately solar energy has very few safety concerns. Solar panels require little maintenance and last for many years. One small concern that is avoidable is unwanted falling objects crashing into your solar panels, which could break the anti-reflective glass coating. Carefully picking the location of your solar panels and trimming any nearby trees or bushes should help reduce that risk.
Wind is another safety risk for rooftop and ground solar systems. Giving your mounts a visual inspection every so often and making adjustments accordingly should help reduce any damage wind may cause. More importantly, proper installation should avoid unwanted movement of your solar panels.
The two biggest areas of concern health-wise are the production and disposal of solar panels. Fortunately, if they top anti-reflective glass coating is cleaned properly and kept free from obstructions, PV solar panels have a lifespan of years and years, so disposal is not an eminent issue. As long as proper recycling channels are followed, the health risk is minimized.
Solar energy is a clean fuel and produces no greenhouse gases, and thus causes no threat to the environment. However, the production of silicon-based solar panels can produce unwanted chemical waste. These chemicals should be disposed of properly by the solar panel manufacturers, and if so the risk here is minimized as well.
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