Although solar panels can play an important role in the fight against global warming, they can become at the same time large pieces of e-waste when they reach the end of life. > ii.
By 2050, 86 million tonnes of solar panels will become waste, and most countries do not have a strategy to manage them.
“If we don't impose recycling, most modules will end up in the landfill,” said Meng Tao, a researcher at Arizona State University.
Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight into electricity. When these panels reach landfills, not only are valuable resources wasted, but also environmental problems are created, as solar panels contain toxic materials.
If most manufacturers claim that their panels have a lifespan of about 25 years, and the world began to use solar energy on a large scale in the early 2000s, we can estimate quite clearly that waste starts easy, easy to appear.
PV CYCLE, an NGO dedicated to the collection and recycling of solar panels, collects thousands of tonnes of solar panel waste from the European Union every year, according to director Jan Clyncke.
This figure includes solar panels that have reached the end of their life, but also those that have been taken out of service because they have been damaged, had a manufacturing defect or have been damaged. Â®replaced with other models.
Across the globe, the regulatory side is not comprehensive at all and does not offer concrete solutions. Under EU law, manufacturers must ensure that solar panels are recycled properly. In Japan, India and Australia, recycling requirements are to be issued.
In the United States, the West is wild, as Grist reporters note: with the exception of a Washington state law, America has not imposed any obligations on recycling solar panels. Voluntary industry-led recycling efforts are limited.
In a recent paper, a team led by scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory calls for the development of new recycling processes in which all metals and minerals are recovered at high purity, in order to make recycling as economically viable as possible and as environmentally beneficial as possible.