MONDAY 31 OCTOBER, 2011 |
Solar Panel Recycling Initiative Hits Major Milestone
A good quality solar panel has a serviceable life of decades, but even after
that time modules have value. A solar panel recycling initiative in Europe has
ensured thousands of tonnes of old and broken modules have been given new life.
Only a very small percentage of a solar panel's weight has to be discarded as
modules contain highly sought after recyclable materials such as silicon, glass
and aluminium. Technically feasible and economically viable, solar panel
recycling also greatly decreases the overall environmental footprint of PV
a European voluntary take-back and recycling program for solar panels; entirely
financed by solar panel producers and free for end-users. The program has grown
rapidly, with nearly 230 panel manufacturers now participating - representing
more than 90% of the European market for photovoltaic modules. Members include Suntech
The organisation recently announced it had collected 1,020 tonnes of end-of-life modules
under its Collective Scheme since it became operational in June 2010.
Additionally, under its Individual System, PV Cycle has collected and processed 1,900 tonnes
of solar panels in the same period.
"The work being done today and the success of the system so far is the best guarantee for the entire PV value-chain to be able to adequately process any modules disposed of in the near
future," said PV Cycle's Managing Director, Mr Jan Clyncke.
Almost 45% of the panels collected and processed so far come from the world's PV
solar stronghold, Germany; followed by Spain, Italy, Poland, Belgium and France.
While Australia is yet to see a PV Cycle-type arrangement established and for
many solar power system owners it will still be decades before such a service is
required, it's good to know that thanks to the pioneering work carried out by
bodies such as PV Cycle, recycling systems should be in place when that time
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