When I was looking at photovoltaic solar cell production I saw that there was some difficulty with rare earth minerals used in the production but i can't find which rare earth minerals. I have tried to look around the web but i can't find anything specific.

What kind of rare earth minerals are used in solar cell productions?

Source: http://www.c2es.org/technology/factsheet/solar (MId way down the page)


Rare earth elements aren't really used much in PV at all. The market is dominated by silicon cells (~95% of the market). The next big player is Cadmium Telluride (~5% of the market). The rest are pretty insignificant.

Also, note that rare-earth elements are (with the exception of Promethium) not particularly rare.


The major one is Indium. Indium Tin Oxide is used as a transparent conductive electrode used to coat the top of the cell. Indium production is a potential bottleneck when it comes to expansion of the PV manufacturing industry and currently costs around $700/kg. Less than 1000 tonnes per year is produced. However, it looks like it may well be replaced with carbon in the form of Graphene.

  • $\begingroup$ Indium isn't a rare earth element though, is it? $\endgroup$ – 410 gone Nov 26 '14 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe the OP is confused with the possible shortage of Neodymium used in wind turbine generators $\endgroup$ – user56903 Nov 26 '14 at 12:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.