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Unfounded concerns about photovoltaic module toxicity and waste are slowing decarbonization

Unsubstantiated claims that fuel growing public concern over the toxicity of photovoltaic modules and their waste are slowing their deployment. Clarifying these issues will help to facilitate the decarbonization that our world depends on.

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Fig. 1: Global cumulative wastes from 2016 to 2050.


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This work was authored in part by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, operated by Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, for the US Department of Energy (DOE) under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308. Partial Funding provided by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Agreements 38269 and 38699. The views expressed in the article do not necessarily represent the views of the DOE or the US Government. The US Government retains and the publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the US Government retains a nonexclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, worldwide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this work, or allow others to do so, for US Government purposes. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Heather Mirletz or Teresa M. Barnes.

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Mirletz, H., Hieslmair, H., Ovaitt, S. et al. Unfounded concerns about photovoltaic module toxicity and waste are slowing decarbonization. Nat. Phys. 19, 1376–1378 (2023).

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