Even Greener Solar Power on the Way


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Europe wants to reduce its needs for raw materials and raise the level of recycling of resources in the solar power industry. If this project is successful, greenhouse gas emissions from solar panel manufacture will fall by 25 to 30 per cent.

“Our aim is that the solar cell industry should utilise materials that would otherwise end up on waste sites once solar cell panels are disposed of. We also want to make it possible to produce solar cell panels using less raw materials than we currently do.

These are the words of scientist Martin Bellmann of SINTEF, the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia, who coordinates the recently launched European Union project Eco-Solar.

The project focuses on how the entire value chain in today’s solar power branch makes use of resources.

Cheaper and greener panels
Reusing materials and reducing the consumption of raw materials will make solar cell panels both cheaper and greener. When less new materials are needed, the emissions of greenhouse gases from their production will decrease.

Likewise, the energy consumed by these processes will be paid off faster than it is today.

All this should improve market penetration for European producers.

“The overarching aim is to strengthen European companies who are driven by innovation and who are able to secure Europe's power supply in a sustainable way” says Bellmann.

Smaller footprint
The aim is to reduce the consumption of raw materials by which the carbon footprint will shrink by 30 per cent for panels using the more common type of solar cells, which are known as multicrystalline cells.

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