Are Solar Panels Recyclable? Its A $15b Industry In Waiting


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Recycling of every green technology is a concern. In fact, it is not considered green unless it can be recycled at the end of its life. Solar panels have a life of 30 years, after which they are decommissioned. However, one study says that even though these panels would have a reduced efficiency after their life, they can still be used in many applications. According to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), solar panels can be recycled into many useful by-products and can garner an estimate of $15 billion by 2050.

Solar energy, particularly solar PV (photo voltaic) is rapidly increasingly. Around 78 million tonnes of solar PV will be available to recycle by 2050. By the end of 2015, an estimated 222 GW of solar panels will be installed and by the end of 2050, it is estimated that 4500 GW of clean solar power systems will be achieved. Recycling and repurposing solar panels standards will need to be set up in India and other countries, such as some countries in the European Union who are already making progress in this direction by making provisions for recycling costs, while financing such projects.

IRENA also predicts that the cost of solar and wind energies would come down by 26 to 59 percent by the year 2025.

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