Recycling PV Solar panels
As renewable energy rises in popularity it has become highly important that Solar PV waste is properly disposed of. As the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) predicted that the world could generate 6 million tonnes of solar waste annually, and could reach 78 million tonnes by 2050. Though it is certainly positive that Solar energy is becoming popular, it is imperative that recycling is also just as widespread. After all, if safe disposal methods are not done then we are once again making a problem for future generations.
How are PV Panels recycled?
Dr. Pablo Dias, an Australian scientist, found a method of electrostatically separating waste streams from solar panels fed into large machine-grade shredders.
The process involves collecting solar arrays, stripping them of their aluminium frame, shredding the cells and using an electrostatic separation to collect valuable materials including silver and copper, reducing the panels to 2%-3% of their original weight.
The reclaimed material would then be shipped directly to a refinery for purification and processing.
Who do I call to recycle my solar panels?
There are a whole host of Dedicated Collection Facilities and you can find your local one by asking to installer for information on the supplier. Flowing Energy Solutions uses two main suppliers and you can find the contact details using the below list. These companies have centres dotted about the country so it should be relatively easy to find one close to you.
Grove Mills, Elland, West Yorkshire, HX5 9DZ
Returns Department, YESSS House, Foxbridge Way, Normanton, WF6 1TN
How much does it cost to recycle my solar panels?
You should know that there are no solar panels costs for recycling. Since all the rules are in place to make sure recycling of solar panels is easy and not your responsibility as an owner, there should never be a charge. So, if someone taking them away does try to charge you, then you should find someone else instead. That said, some situations where removal is an issue this may incur a charge.
It’s worth noting that recycling helps in the long run since many solar panels are made using rare materials like gallium and indium, which are steadily depleting. So, rescuing these, rather than sending them to landfill is important.
You’re also helping to fund future solar panels. The estimated total value of solar panels in 2030 is set to hit £330 million. That could fund around 60 million new solar panels for future green energy harvesting needs.
What does the future look like?
Prioritising sustainability across all areas of solar panel production and disposal is key going forwards. It will certainly be worthwhile, and the benefits are not just environmental: IRENA estimated that the value of the materials recovered from recycling or repurposing solar panels could exceed £11 billion by 2050, if the stock is fully injected back into the economy.
It’s crucial that we find more sustainable energy options, and solar power is just that – especially if it continues developing. If you want to make the switch to renewable energy, look no further than Flowing Energy Solutions. Our team of solar energy experts will be more than happy to help! For more information, look through our website or get in touch today.