We are gradually shifting towards renewable energy and solar energy growth was phenomenal in the last decade. The constant price dip with the increase in efficiency are the two main reasons behind their growth.
The solar panels with the average operational life of 30 years give a very long time to enjoy cheap and clean electricity for decades. The solar panels installed in the late 70s or early 80s are on the verge of completing their operational lifetime and recycling their e-waste is going to be the major concern for many regulating authorities around the world.
The most of the solar panel’s parts can be recycled and can be reused. The solar panel is mainly made up of the following parts:
In total, 90-95% of the material can be reused for making the new solar panels.
Solar waste management
In order to make the recycling process feasible, the solar cell manufacturers must fulfill certain legal conditions and maintain strict recycling standards so that the solar panels after their operational life do not become a burden to the environment. The solar panel recycling is at nascent stage, it requires time to be widely implemented across the globe and requires further research to explore its potential to the maximum extent.
The constant dip in the solar panel pricing is helping solar market to flourish and obviously it will have a direct impact on the recycling industry. In fact, the recycling market needs the investment to set the basic infrastructure for the recycling of the solar panels.
However, in Europe, the solar panels disposal comes under the European Union waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive and is strictly maintained and regulated.
The similar directives must be implemented across the globe with the consensus of manufacturers, suppliers, consumers and the regulating bodies in order to tackle the recycling process more effectively and efficiently.
We still have plenty of time before recycling of the solar panels becomes a major issue. But acting proactively will help us in taking the best course of action in tackling the recycling of the panels.