Perovskite Solar Technologies Are Impressive, But Do They Need So Much Lead

Best Solar Technologies

The need for new, efficient solar energy products is undeniable. As more companies work to create appealing, consumer-focused products, efficiency remains a top goal. Many companies are competing to provide the very best panels with new solar technologies. SolarCity is opening a mass-production facility in Buffalo, New York, with panels reaching levels of 22%. Panasonic claim to have since beaten that.

One Of The Interesting New Technologies For Solar Panel Creation Is That Of Perovskite Solar Cells

Perovskite Solar Energy

These new cells reach efficiency ratings up to 20% and are applicable in many situations. They are printed used ink-jet technology on flexible plastic film, which should revolutionize manufacture in some ways.

When combined with current silicon cells, the efficiency and appeal of the panels can only increase. At least that is what the manufacturers and designers had hoped. The problem here is that there is another material found within these new cells that isn’t quite so beneficial. That material is lead.

This Is A Big Red Flag For Anyone That May End Up Making, Handling And Buying These Panels

New Solar Technology

Lead is dangerous, so much so that it was removed from many products where it was a risk to human health. This includes paint and other goods for manufacture. So why should homeowners be prepared to add more lead to their roof in the form of these “improved” solar technologies?

Some may say that it is fine if the lead is on the panel, all the way up on the roof. There is no direct connection to the chemical and no risk of accidental ingestion, not like paint and other liquids.

The problem comes with the risk of damage to these panels. Solar energy panels are built to withstand heavy weather conditions, like larger snow loads and high winds. However, what happens if one were to fall off the roof and break. Or if heavy hailstone were to crack the cell on the roof.

The lead and rainwater could contaminate the property, surrounding land and the local water supply. Again, some supporters of this new technology could shrug off such warnings and say that even current silicon panels contain some lead.

This is true, but the difference is in the amount and the type of lead. Perovskite cells contain a significant amount of an iconic compound that is soluble. Silicon cells have a metallic lead that is not. This simply means that the former can leak into the water supply with ease and the latter cannot.

So What The Solution?

As far as many researchers are now concerned, the only viable solution for solar technologies is an entirely different chemical. One that is not so poisonous to homeowners and the surrounding landscape. Manufacturers just need a similar element with the same electronic configuration but a better safety rating. Many are already ruled out.

Tin degrades too easily; thallium is highly toxic, and flerovium is radioactive. Bismuth, however, is safe and similar. The combination of bismuth and silver would create what designers have dubbed a “double perovskite.” This is due to the +4 charge. It may not be entire as effective at the moment for solar energy production, but it is certainly safer.

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