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How Do Different Solar Technologies Effect the Environment?
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How Do Different Solar Technologies Effect the Environment?

During operation, PV and solar thermal technologies produce no air pollution, little or no noise, and require no transportable fuels. One environmental worry with solar technologies is the lead-acid batteries that are used with some systems. This is a concern especially in developing countries where proper disposal and recycling is not always available. The impact of these lead batteries is lessening however as batteries become more recyclable, batteries of improved quality are produced and better quality solar systems that enhance battery lifetimes are created.

A second environmental concern with solar technologies is the difficulty or recycling heavy metals such as cadmium, which are used in PV cells. Just as there is a large worry about the large amount of discarded personal computers that may pile up and leach cadmium, mercury, and lead into the environment, there is a worry that the cadmium used in discarded PV panels may also be an environmental threat. Since the use of cadmium sulfide in the production of PV panels is on the rise (replacing the more expensive silicon)this is an issue that should be considered.

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