Are solar panels safe?

Solar panels are safe and have proven beneficial to public health by displacing air pollution caused by fossil fuel electric generation, conserving clean water, and reducing the harmful impacts of climate change.

In fact, the health benefits created by the 20 GW of solar power that was installed in the United States through 2014 saved Americans about $890 million per year. (1) The amount of installed U.S. solar capacity has increased sevenfold since then. About 3 million American households now have residential solar systems safely operating on their homes.

The Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University conducted an exhaustive analysis of health and safety questions surrounding utility-scale solar energy projects, including concerns regarding toxicity, electromagnetic fields, fire safety, and electric shock potential. For each of these topics, they concluded that “the negative health and safety impacts of utility-scale PV development were shown to be negligible, while the public health and safety benefits of installing these facilities are significant and far outweigh any negative impacts.” (2)

(1) Ryan Wiser et al., “On the Path to SunShot: The Environmental and Public Health Benefits of Achieving High Penetrations of Solar Energy in the United States” Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2016.

(2) North Carolina State University, NC Clean Energy Technology Center, “Health and Safety Impacts of Solar Photovoltaics,” May 2017.