Mostly, solar panels are made up of nonrenewable, artificially derived components. Virgin plastic, carbon fiber, petrochemical resins. However, can you make a solar panel from renewable and re-purposed materials? We did some tests to find out.
Certainly, more testing is required to determine the permeability and performance of these materials, but there’s a lot of potential to reduce the embodied energy and environmental footprint of the ingredients to go into solar panels.
Preliminary calculations show that using these materials can reduce the embodied energy (a measure of the overall effort and environmental ingredients that goes into a manufactured product) can be reduced significantly – possibly 25%.