Sep 17, 2020
Insights in Mining Science & Technology
Taking advantage of the technology’s fiercely improved competitiveness in Solar Power, Portugal is investing solid in this type of technology. Solar energy has been presented as a key solution for satisfying the energy demand with environmental and social benefits. Being true on energy production (electricity and thermal), on the remaining life cycle one can find evidences far from it. The electric components of a PV panel are still based on rare elements, such as Silicium. The manufacturing the Solar panels requires cooper, iron, steel and other metals. The electricity by PV production obliges the use of storage devices, mainly batteries, that uses elements dangerous for the environment, such as acids. Also, modern batteries are based on rare elements, such as lithium. The exploration of raw materials, such as silicium and lithium, is very controversial because of the local social impacts on agriculture, forestry, and landscape of rural areas, for example. The present paper presents the different principal technologies on market (monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film), the necessary devices (load regulator, protections, e.g.), the common devices (such as storage devices and backup systems), and focus on their materials impact, based on a life-cycle analyses. The present paper also presents the process of full recycling a PV solar system. It is possible to realize that, despite the high energy impact and environmental impact in mining and manufacturing, the PV solar systems fully compensate in the short run. Thereby, there is not only the economic advantage.