PV Industries have been highlighted in Electrical Connection magazine’s Winter 2020 issue, in a feature article on solar panel recycling.
The article, At Your Disposal, provides an in depth look at end of life (EOL) solar panels and waste management options including solar panel recycling.
Paul Skelton writes, “It has been estimate that 100,000 to 150,000 solar panels need replacing every year. By 2050, solar panel waste is projected to be more than 900,000 tonnes in Australia alone.”
The boom in solar panel waste is just around the corner and the editor argues that solar installers should start thinking about this now and how it will impact their business.
Another important aspect of solar panel recycling and waste management is product stewardship. “In 2011, the Australian Federal Government released the product stewardship Act. This aims to establish a system of shared responsibility for those that make, sell abd use a product to guard against harming the environment or people at the end of its life.”
Solar panels were added to a priority list under the Product Stewardship Act in 2016. Sustainability Victoria have been leading this national investigation in EOL solar panels.
“Co-Founder James Petesic says his company is on a mission. “I feel that we’re essentially creating an industry as well as participating in it,” he says.
“Business partner Tim Dawson and I have met federal ministers and state government representatives to better understand the current laws while trying to onfluence things like the Victorian e-waste ban.”
Moving forward, it’s important that plans are put in place for managing solar panel and system waste to enable diversion from landfill.
“Large installations, such as solar farms and industrial complexes, are likely to have ‘end of life’ procedures at the beginning of a project and will include such costs at the outset.”
Belinda Lam from Global Sustainable Energy Solutions (GSES) says, “This needs to be standard practice for all projects, to keep materials out of landfill.”
The editor notes PV Industries launching its first collection point in Sydney.
Skelton finishes the article noting how important it is to combine legislation with a sustainable solution.
Belinda says, “Victoria is the only state with any legislation on PV panel disposal. Without legislation there is less incentive for people to recycle. Installers need to have an open and honest conersation about the cost of recycling, and work it into the cost of projects. If they don’t do this, system owners are likely to feel cheated if they are charged by the installer for decommissioning a system.”
Solar panel recycling will ensure both environmental and economic gains. James says, “If we ensure that panels are recycled it will be a big win for the environment – and far better than the linear model of ‘buy, use, dispose’.”
Solar panel recycling supports local manufacturing, recovers economic value that would otherwise be lost, creates jobs and extends the life of landfill sites.