Harmful Environmental Impact of the Production Process of Photovoltaic Panels—A Review

  • Marcin LandratEmail author
  • Krzysztof Pikoń
  • Magdalena Bogacka
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Energy book series (SPE)


Until recently, the main disadvantage of photovoltaics was the fact that from the perspective of ecology, it was more harmful than helping—the building of the cells required far more energy than they could generate. Although in a local scale it may have made sense and allowed to produce pure energy in a certain place, in the global perspective the balance was definitely negative. At present popular trend is promoted to use as a source of energy photovoltaic modules, but little is said about the harmful effects on the environment and human life of the production process of the PV cells. In the article, based on the available literature, the production process of silicon and tellurium-cadmium cells was analyzed. The production process has been described, with particular emphasis on the hazardous substances used in cell production, as well as by the toxic by-products of these processes. The type of environmental and human toxicity has been demonstrated and the possible ways of limiting this impact have been reviewed.


Photovoltaics Silicon cells Cadmium telluride cells Manufacturing process Recycling Toxic products 



The studies presented in this article was conducted within the project GEKON2/O4/266475/6/2015 “Isothermal and refrigeration photovoltaic car body” funded by the National Centre for Research and Development.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcin Landrat
    • 1
    Email author
  • Krzysztof Pikoń
    • 1
  • Magdalena Bogacka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Technologies and Installations for Waste ManagementSilesian University of TechnologyGliwicePoland

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