Solar panels have many components that must be disposed properly. By following the steps in this guide, you can get rid of your solar panels correctly without polluting landfills.
Solar Panel Recycling Times
An average solar panel operates efficiently for nearly 30 years. Beyond this point, performance issues usually develop. When panels are old, you shouldn’t toss them in the trash because the hardware won’t break down in a landfill. Instead, you must implement procedures to prepare the waste for recycling. Although a solar panel system has multiple parts, only a few components can be completely recycled.
Components to Recycle
Many manufacturers make solar panels with parts that can be reused after they’re processed in a recycling facility. The following parts qualify for general recycling:
- Metal frame
- Glass panels
- Solar cells
In most cases, you’ll need to dismantle a solar system in order to prep the waste for recycling. Typically, parts that are made of glass or metal can be recycled without any problems. However, if any of these components are attached to silicon materials, you’ll have to separate the silicon because it’s not recyclable.
Because a solar panel is constructed out of different kinds of materials, most people divide the parts while prepping for recycling. They take the panels to facilities that recycle glass and the aluminum parts that plants that process metals. However, you don’t have to recycle your panels this way because there are many businesses that specialize in solar panel recycling, such as:
- Recycle PV: This company has a strategic partnership with PV Cycle. Thanks to this business deal, citizens in the United States can recycle their old solar hardware. Over the next few years, the demand for Recycle PV’s services will increase as more people dispose outdated solar panel systems.
- Solar Energy Industries Association: SEIA has multiple recycling partners, and these partnerships benefit SEIA members. Besides recycling services for solar panels, the equipment at this facility can also process heavy-duty solar equipment.
- Manufacturer recycling: The most convenient way to recycle solar equipment is by using a manufacturer’s recycling service. Many companies have a recycling program, such as First Solar and SunPower. Most programs are usually ran through strategic groups, and the process of shipping old parts to a manufacturer is simple. If a solar panel is still in great condition, the hardware will be repurposed instead or recycled.