News Brief

Solar Panels Pay Back Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Four Months

The impacts of a rare greenhouse gas—nitrogen trifluoride, or NF3—used to make thin-film photovoltaic panels are offset in under four months by the emissions-free power generation of the panels. This is the finding of a study published in

Environmental Science & Technology. The use of NF3 has come under scrutiny since scientists found atmospheric concentrations of the chemical were higher than expected and growing at 11% a year, according to

Chemical & Engineering News; the chemical is also used in integrated circuit manufacturing. The new research offers hard numbers for one aspect of photovoltaic manufacture—but a complete life-cycle analysis, accounting for all environmental impacts from manufacture to disposal, is still lacking.

Published December 30, 2010

Wendt, A. (2010, December 30). Solar Panels Pay Back Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Four Months. Retrieved from

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