Although solar energy is a green industry, at the end of its useful life, solar panels can significantly harm the environment if not properly recycled due to the toxic components they contain. The process of recycling used solar panels turned out to be difficult and expensive, so not everyone takes up this business, writes “Commercial”.
California (USA) is one of the pioneers of solar energy. Solar panels have been used to generate electricity here for more than 20 years, and the state authorities allocate significant amounts to subsidize this area. The lifespan of a solar panel is 25-30 years, so you will soon face the problem of recycling used panels.
However, this problem already exists or will soon occur in other countries. The International Renewable Energy Agency predicts that by 2050 the amount of solar panels consumed will reach 78 million tons in a negative scenario.
Without proper recycling, solar panels are more polluting than many other devices due to the presence of toxic heavy metals, including lead, selenium, and cadmium. In addition, processing them is more difficult and expensive than most other gadgets. In addition, this process is not economical – materials are obtained from the panel for $ 2-4, and its processing costs $ 20-30, according to the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Experts see a way out of this situation in subsidizing processing. In addition, it is proposed to burden the panel manufacturers with the disposal obligation. And the EU has already introduced such rules. It could also greatly simplify the processing of creating uniform standards for solar panels.