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How does Solar power affect the environment in ways that we don’t think about?

Solar power
Even Though solar power is applied in many areas with modern technology, there are some exceptions.
Extraction of raw materials may cause the destruction of natural resources and water wastage.
Levelling of the earth to install solar panels results in sediments running off to nearby water bodies.
Farmers are unable to grow their crops due to solar panel shades and losing their lands to companies.
Solar batteries can affect the soil surface with the explosion of chemicals and heavy metals.
Solar panels may cause various health issues, if not recycled properly.
In urban areas, the installation of solar panels will further increase island heat effects.

The Sun is the leader of almost all sources of energy because without the sun they all will be malfunctioned. Not only for the sources of energy but also for the form of life the sun is essential. The sun provides us with Solar energy, Light energy and Thermal energy. From the period of the Egyptians to the present, humans have interacted with the sun’s energies.

Egyptians used thermal energy to heat their houses at night and ancient Greeks and Romans were known to use solar power to obtain light. 

However, today’s situation is much more different than those periods. We have travelled a  long journey with the generation of solar power, water irrigation by solar energy, solar heating and solar lighting etc. Among these solar power is a common trend which is used among people.

Solar power is produced by the conversion of direct sunlight to electricity by photovoltaic cells. Though solar power gives many economic, and commercial benefits, Have you ever thought of the deprivation of using solar power? Then this blog is for you! Get ready to discover the dark side of solar power that many don’t pay much attention to.

How does the manufacturing process affect the environment?

As solar panels are the key source of generating solar power, it requires a lot of energy and raw materials. During the manufacturing of solar panels, some metals like silicon and aluminium or glass should be obtained. For this demand, extraction of resources from the surrounding should be done. This causes habitat destruction, water pollution, deforestation and mainly soil erosion which occurs by mining activities.

Apart from the raw materials, energy is required in refining and purifying raw materials producing solar cells and assembling the solar panels. As a result, most non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels are assembled which is ironic. This contributes the most pollutants to the environment.

On the other hand, chemicals which are used for cleaning, or coating the solar cells and other heavy metals of potential products such as cadmium telluride may be driven out. They can be accumulated as contaminants in the soil and water. If they are not disposed of properly, unbearable damage may occur to the environment. 

Additionally demand for water, for cleaning, cooling and rinsing is fulfilled by local water supply which will cause a serious situation, especially in water-scarce areas affecting agricultural activities and communities which rely on limited water resources.

Problems related to the usage of land for solar panels.

Solar panels require land for the installation as they should be grounded to avoid damage during lightning providing the easiest pathway to reach the earth. The projects regarding the development of solar panels require a larger land area for installations. According to the technology, nature of the site and intensity of the solar resources, the land area for solar power projects may vary. 

Suppose a low-efficient solar panel, as the efficiency depends on the amount of energy solar panels can convert, this may require a comparatively larger area than a normal solar panel.

This demand for scale may affect the environment in a bad way. This leads to the clearing and conversion of forests or agricultural lands for a greater amount of solar panel settings, causing loss of habitat, loss of biodiversity and fragmentation of biodiversity. 

As solar panels prefer a “much-levelled ground”, this requires companies to cut down trees, levelling up and grading affecting the whole vegetation and the quality of the soil in the particular area. 

Eventually, this may lead to soil erosion in those areas, where the eroded soil may run off downhill with the storm to the waterways. When this occurs, it hurts the whole ecosystem, damaging the wildlife and aquatic species living along with it. 

Not only the environment, but even Farmers also face the consequences as well. As solar power is generated mostly in rural areas, companies tend to capture land and forests around these areas, minimising lands that can be used for farming. Besides, agricultural lands cannot be associated with solar farms like wind power plants, as they block the sunlight for crops. 

So this will be a baffling problem for those farmers.

The dark side of battery storage and the end of life management

The excess energy of solar panels can be stored and used during cloudy or rainy days when the sun’s power is low. The most popular trend that is used nowadays is solar batteries. However, though this can be a win-win situation for your pocket, there might be exceptions too.

It’s a known fact that batteries are made out of toxic chemicals and heavy metals such as lead and lithium. These solar batteries tend to charge and discharge all the time, it’s possible to catch fire or even explode if not maintained properly. Which releases harmful gasses and chemicals.

Suppose the batteries are underground, this might release toxic chemicals and gas underground plus heavy metals underground and get contaminated. This contamination may cause unavoidable damage to the environment destroying the ecosystem and hurting wildlife

Associated with it. 

If any water system is connected to the soil, the aquatic environment can be fragmented and get filled with battery chemicals. This will be a hazard to the health of people as well because the water irrigation system is connected to the aquatic areas around that particular area. This is a kind of serious and unsolved problem faced by the community and ecosystem in the area.

Solar panels have a lifespan of 25-30 years. When they reach their end time they should be recycled properly. If not they can be accumulated as hazardous waste. It is found that silicon, arsenic and copper along with other heavy metals can perform a potential hazard than the batteries.

That means the end life solar panels might cause health issues connecting with the tap water system and create problems for wildlife, aquatic life and even the whole ecosystem if they are not recycled properly.

 It has been estimated that currently, about 90% of end-life solar panels fill up the land as waste. This situation may be far greater in the future leading to worse results.

This means that solar panels which are not recycled can be one of the ways to lead the earthers towards a tragic end.

How do solar panels participate in heat island effects? 

Densely populated urban areas which are associated with concrete, asphalt and low vegetation have a high probability of facing the effects of heat island.

High heat island refers to the experience of more heat in urban areas than the nearby rural areas.

 These effects will be greater when solar panels are entered into the equation.

Because of the use of mirrors to concentrate the solar radiation on solar panels, this reflects less energy and more heat altering the airflow and temperature profiles in the area.

The increased heat, higher daytime temperature, reduced night-time cooling, high level of air pollution, and an increase in heat-related illness such as respiratory malfunctions, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and various heart diseases even contributes to the heat-related deaths as well. With these events, people may tend to use more air conditioners resulting in more energy demand for them.

In addition, the increase of heat with solar panels may affect the nearby rural areas enforcing wildfires and damage to the vegetation along with the wildlife associated with them. The rivers and other reservoirs will face the damage of losing the aquatic animals with the increased temperature inside and reducing the water level. Finally, this may contribute towards global warming as well.


While solar power is defined as a clean and sustainable energy source it does have a darker zone which is not highlighted but has a serious impact on nature. From the manufacturing process and installation to the storage and end-life management, problems regarding waste management, danger to an ecosystem, danger to health and temperature fluctuations act around solar power disturbing the natural process of life. 

It’s important to consider that to avoid these consequences, enough action should be taken. Such as responsible sourcing, proper waste management, efficient manufacturing process and urban planning by considering heat island effects.

Other than that a country’s government can enforce rules and regulations regarding usage of land and protected installment process. 

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