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Are solar panels recyclable?

asked 2017-01-26 12:20:41 -0500

leonamauriti gravatar image

I'm in the process of going solar and though I'm aware that solar not only reduces emissions but itself is almost totally emissions free, I still would like to avoid the silicon related debt of having panels made for my rooftop. Thus I'm wondering if there is a market for recycled panels? I would imagine this must be possible though I have been unable to find any way of getting panels for reuse. if anyone knows of any websites or distribution networks - I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!!

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answered 2017-02-10 10:42:53 -0500

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updated 2017-02-10 10:42:53 -0500

energysage gravatar image

Yes, you can recycle solar panels. Currently, the market for recycled panels is fairly small, because solar is a relatively young technology and most solar panels last for 25+ years. That being said, there are a number of panel manufacturers and other organizations that are already exploring solar panel recycling, including panel manufacturers, installers, and solar trade organizations.

First Solar, one of the largest manufacturers in the U.S., has a module recycling program that can recover 90 percent of panel materials for use in new products. SolarCity, the largest solar leasing company in the country, also recycles panels from its installations at the end of their useful lifespan.

Another organization that has recognized the importance of solar panel recycling is the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the main national trade group for solar companies. SEIA is developing a national recycling program for all of its partners through its PV Recycling Working Group.

If solar panel sustainability is a top priority for you, there are certain manufacturers that have certifications related to the sustainability of their solar panel life cycle. Most recently, panel manufacturer SunPower announced that they are “Cradle to Cradle” certified. A nonprofit organization known as Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition also produces an annual “Solar Scorecard” that grades panel manufacturers on the safety and sustainability of their manufacturing and disposal practices.

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answered 2017-10-03 04:28:20 -0500

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updated 2017-10-03 04:28:20 -0500

atv gravatar image

@energysage has had a thorough answer. What I can explain more is how the recycling works, if that interests you. While First Solar has an established recycling system, they produce thin-film based panels mostly. However, all types of (solar panels) can be recycled. Here's an infographic that explains how both (PV panel types are recycled).

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Asked: 2017-01-26 12:20:41 -0500

Seen: 1,811 times

Last updated: Apr 02