What are photovoltaic panels? Photovoltaic solar panel production

In recent years, society has faced new challenges. Among them, the deterioration of the environment has set off the alarms. So much so that governments, companies and individuals today have a key task: fight against climate change. And one way to do it is through the use of photovoltaic panels.

Many organizations have already warned of the possible future that awaits us if we do not take action. For this reason, photovoltaic panels become great alternatives to take care of the environment. Keep reading; Below you will discover some of the benefits of solar energy.

Photovoltaic panels and their environmental benefits

Given the increase in air pollution, changes are urgently needed. One of them is to change traditional sources for energy, such as coal, gas or oil. The reason? Simple: because they are finite and highly polluting. But given the changes, it is logical to ask: is the new alternative better? The following might convince you yes:

  1. Solar energy does not emit greenhouse gases.
  2. Solar energy does not emit toxic substances or air pollutants.
  3. It is an energy that is renewed; Besides, the sun is all over the world.
  4. The use of solar panels reduces energy imports. Outside of that, it generates wealth and employment locally.

However, there is a metal, silver, that plays a transcendental role in solar panels. We will explain its role, its disadvantages and what is done today to reduce its use.

Silver, a metal that conducts energy

Silver plays a fundamental role in the manufacture of photovoltaic panels. Panel makers turn silver into a paste that is added to silicon wafers to take advantage of its conductivity. The objective is to transport the energy to batteries or installations with which to take advantage of it instantly.

As the demand for plates has grown, so has the demand for this metal. This has led to an increase in the price of silver and, consequently, in the future electricity bills may also increase.

Therefore, we would be facing a new challenge. Especially if we take into account the plans of the European Commission to 2028. Basically, it wants to double the installed solar energy capacity in the European Union to 300 gigawatts.

So how to meet these objectives and reduce the use of silver? How to control costs in the future? It is necessary to take into account the panorama that the experts warn.

The transition to clean energy could cause the installed photovoltaic power capacity to go from 1 TW this 2023 to 15-60 TW in 2050. And another factor to review, but no less important, is that the annual value of silver has increased more than 50% since 2019.

With this in mind, below we will show you some disadvantages of using silver in solar panels.

Disadvantages of silver in photovoltaic panels

One of the disadvantages is the increase in the cost of silver due to the growing demand. Even more so when taking into account that the photovoltaic industry would be consuming around 85% of the world’s silver reserves. It must also be taken into account that for the generation of electricity through solar energy the following are needed:

  1. Big surfaces.
  2. Materials that are expensive to produce -silicon- and toxic -cadmium and lead-.

To this we must add the indirect contamination of photovoltaic panels. Nowadays, few countries build panels with 100% recyclable materials. These panels are called by experts as “of the future”. Thus, materials such as silver, copper, silicon and lead are generating a significant environmental impact.

Efforts to substitute silver in panels

The conclusion that many experts have reached is the need to invest in research and development of silver-free panels. An alternative that is being studied is coating with copper. This metal has similar energy production characteristics.

Many researchers are currently working on redesigning solar panels, who want to make them highly efficient by moving the solar cells closer together to use thinner connections. This would effectively contribute to the use of silver. As you can see, there are several challenges facing the world in the short and medium term. One of them is the protection of the environment, in which photovoltaic panels play a transcendental role.