Materials constraints in a global energy scenario based on thin-film solar cells
Journal article, 1998
Harnessing solar energy by using photovoltaic cells has the potential to become a major CO2-free energy source. Materials requirements for the solar cells based on four types of thin-film photovoltaics have been estimated and compared with global reserves, resources and annual refining. The use of solar cells based on Cd, Ga, Ge, In, Ru, Se and Te as a major energy-supply technology has severe resource constraints. Other systems such as a-Si without Ge and crystalline silicon do not involve such constraints. For some of these metals, there is the risk of enhanced, environmentally deleterious concentrations in the ecosphere due to leakage from manufacturing, use or waste handling.