8 Ways to Dispose of Unwanted Solar Panels

Are you struggling with unwanted solar panels? Our guide explores 8 effective ways to responsibly dispose of your solar panels, including selling, donating, recycling, and certified disposal. Learn how to get rid of scrap solar panels and discover the best options for old solar panels.
solar panel disposal

Solar panels are a fantastic investment, reducing your reliance on the grid and saving you money on electricity bills. But what happens when your panels reach the end of their lifespan, or you need to remove them for renovations?  Disposing of solar panels responsibly is crucial to avoid environmental damage and ensure valuable materials are recovered.  Here are 8 ways to handle your unwanted solar panels in Australia:

1. Sell your solar panels

There’s a market for used solar panels! If your panels are in good condition and relatively new, you can sell them to recoup some of your initial investment.  Consider online marketplaces or contacting solar installers who might be interested in purchasing them for secondary projects.

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2. Donate your solar panels

If your panels are still functional but no longer needed, consider donating them to a charitable organisation or community project. This can be a fantastic way to support a worthy cause and bring the benefits of solar power to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

Upgrade your solar system without sending your old solar panels to landfill

If you decide to upgrade your solar system, Second Life Solar will pay to remove your old panels. Thanks to our partnerships with the CSIRO, the NSW Environment Protection Authority, and Energy Matters, we are pleased to offer current solar consumers an alternative.

3. Check with your local council

Some local councils in Australia offer solar panel disposal programs.  These programs ensure proper dismantling and recycling of the panels, keeping harmful materials out of landfills. Contact your local council to see if they have such a program and inquire about fees or drop-off procedures.

4. Find a scrap metal dealer

Scrap metal dealers might accept scrap solar panels for recycling.  While this option might not be the most environmentally friendly due to the potential separation of materials, throwing them away is still preferable.  Call around scrap metal dealers in your area to see if they accept solar panels and inquire about their pricing structure for scrap solar panels.

solar panel disposal

5. Look for solar panel recycling programs

Recycling is the most eco-friendly option for solar panel disposal. Several accredited recyclers specialise in processing solar panels in Australia. Companies like Ecoactiv, PV Industries, and Resolarcycle offer services to recycle panels, ensuring valuable materials are reclaimed.  These companies break down the panels into their component parts, separating glass, metals, and silicon for reuse in new products.

6. Contact your solar panel installer

Many reputable solar panel installers offer solar panel disposal services as part of their after-sales support.  They may have established partnerships with e-waste recycling facilities or have the knowledge to guide you through the proper disposal process.  Contacting your installer is a great first step, especially if your panels are still under warranty or if they installed the system themselves.  They can advise you on the most appropriate disposal option based on the condition of your panels and any local regulations.

solar panel disposal

7. Avoid landfill disposal

Landfills are not suitable for solar panels.  The glass and metals in solar panels take hundreds of years to decompose, and the hazardous materials can leach into the surrounding soil and water.  Disposing of solar panels in landfills is not only bad for the environment but may also be illegal in your area.  By choosing responsible disposal methods like e-waste recycling, you can ensure your unwanted solar panels have a second life and don’t end up polluting our landfills.

8. Specialised e-waste recyclers

E-waste stands for electronic waste, and solar panels fall under this category. Fortunately, there’s a growing network of specialised e-waste recyclers across Australia equipped to handle solar panels. These facilities break down the panels into their component parts, such as glass, silicon, aluminium, and copper. The recovered materials are then reused in the manufacturing of new products, minimising environmental impact.  Look for facilities that mention solar panel recycling on their websites or contact them directly to inquire about their capabilities.

solar panel disposal

By following these tips, you can ensure that your unwanted solar panels are disposed of responsibly and sustainably. Remember, proper solar panel disposal contributes to a cleaner and greener future for Australia’s solar energy industry.

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