Despite previous studies undertaken to test possible health and safety issues surrounding cadmium – using PV modules such as those supplied by First Solar – the major Australia-based PV installer and distributer, Energy Matters, is calling for new, independent tests. Energy Matters said on its website that it had already started discussions with scientific institutions in regard to a new study being conducted.
“We’ve reviewed a study carried out by a U.S. Government laboratory where thin film solar panels containing cadmium were torched and the glass fused together, preventing the escape of the material,” noted Energy Matters co-founder Max Sylvester. “What wasn’t addressed is the situation in a fire where a panel is hosed down, which would invariably cause the glass to crack, allowing water to penetrate.”
Sylvester noted that CdTe thin-film modules are already popular in Australia and that the company would like to sell such modules themselves but feel that the issues raised would need to be independently answered.
Energy Matters is currently an authorized supplier of modules from Suntech, Solarfun, Yingli Green and BP Solar.