Solar Energy Health Effects on Humans

Solar energy is something that has increasingly provided environmentally friendly options for generating electricity. However, there are studies that reveal that solar energy has health effects on humans—these studies primarily concern the solar cells that tap the energy. Addressing these concerns is crucial for the further development of safer solar energy sources that can be utilized by industries and consumers alike (See References 1 and 2).

Electromagnetic Radiation From Solar Panels

Modern solar systems use components that radiate high levels of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation, which poses health risks to those with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). The primary health hazard involved with solar energy generation is that people with EHS get sick from electromagnetic radiation in even very small amounts. Such a health problem may be triggered by small frequencies from cell phones, computers and other electronic appliances. The production of solar energy can further aggravate the situation. Since some of the symptoms of this health risk are common and non-specific, such as headaches and restlessness, a person inside a solar-powered home or building may not even realize what's going on.

Silicon Dust from Solar Panels

Factors Affecting Individual Health

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A solar panel’s basic component contains pure silicon. Silicon dust is a harmful substance when inhaled, especially over long periods of time. Exposure to this dust can result in a lung disease called silicosis, which causes scar tissue to form in the lungs. This scar tissue reduces the lungs’ capacity to process oxygen. Solar cells are also made of non-recyclable materials. Therefore, the absence of an environment-friendly way to dispose of non-functioning solar cells could pose a threat to the environment as well.

Exposure to Electrical and Chemical Components of Solar Heat Systems

A solar hot water system takes the heat of the sun to warm up bath water. Some solar heat systems can heat up an entire house. These technologies usually have a solar collector that processes the energy to generate heat. These methods pose health risks to chemically or electrically sensitive people, especially if they are constantly exposed to these systems.

The Future of Solar Energy

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With more research and development projects, the health risks related to the acquisition and utilization of solar energy can be better managed and addressed. Hopefully, new solar energy technology will be free from these negative health effects.