Are Solar Panels Recyclable?

recycling solar panels

Recyclable solar panels

The twenty-first century is all about being friendly towards the environment t0 overcome all the damages which have been made to the planet by the methods adopted in the previous century.


We have seen the greenery vanish, the wildlife being targeted, and the depletion of the ozone layer. Most of the people are working towards the betterment of the environment and taking every possible measure to overcome the environmental hazards. One of the most effective ways of being kind to our environment are the recyclable solar panels.

The question which most of the people ask themselves is:

Are they really environmental friendly or not?

The solar panels have a life span which lasts for about half a century. Even after being in use for about 20-30 years, there is no significant damage or deterioration in the quality of any of the panels.

Although, there are chances that the panels might get a bit damaged during the delivery or the installation process. In such a case, the factory can take care of 99 percent of the problems through recycling and will be helpless only in the remaining 1 percent.

Only in the case of some serious impairment will the solar panels lose their life and will become unusable.

So, are the Solar Panels Recyclable or are they not?

What happens when when solar panels have completed their life span? Are there any chances of recycling them again?

The answer is:


 …and the good news is that most of the companies are already working on it. The European PV industry in the year 2007 established it aims to set up the recycling program for the worn out panels and reduce the amount of toxins which go into the air with the help of recyclable solar panels.

There are a few things about the solar panels which were of great concern and this included their manufacturing as well. Toxins are released into the air during the making of a solar panel but with recycling, this could be overcomed. As a result, neither there are any emissions during the manufacturing process nor during the usage.

Although most of the panel is made of glass but when broken down, a lot of materials can easily be retrieved. These materials can be separated out and used again in the new solar panels but this requires the recycling process to be carried out with extreme care.

Minerals from Solar Panels

Apart from the glass, the other materials which are extracted and can be recycled include gallium, indium, selenide, silicon dioxide, copper, silver, aluminum, and aluminum dioxide. For the extraction of all these materials, different techniques are employed and different kinds of solar modules are utilized.

Most of the expensive materials used in the PV technology can be re-used which will help in reducing the cost of the solar panels. The recyclable solar panels will become cost-effective while acting better towards the environment. This has to be one of the biggest breakthroughs in this technology which will help in taking it forward.

The National PV Recycling Program*

The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) and its members are inclined towards developing responsible, end-of-life management and are actively working towards recycling processes of the solar industry.

The major solar manufacturers and installer-developers including Flex, Panasonic, SolarCity, First Solar, JinkoSolar, SunPower, and Trina Solar are working with SEIA. SEIA has established a network of cost-effective recyclers which are keen towards responsibly managing the PV waste and the disposal of panels which cannot be brought into working anymore. There are a few SEIA members which are already operating the take-back and recycling programs for their products.

A national PV recycling program has been developed by the SEIA’s recycling working group which offers specific advantages to the members who utilize the services of SEIA Preferred Recycling Partners.



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