As the global solar panel industry grows, so too will the recycling potential
According to a joint report, end-of-life solar panel recycling could be worth $15 billion by 2050, as experts says the average lifespan of a solar panel is around 30 years.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency’s Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme have published the report claiming that the recycling of used solar panels could prove to be big business in the not so distant future.
Solar panel use is on the rise across the globe, as it offers sustainable and affordable energy solutions for new housing and industrial buildings, as global population levels rise and emerging economies record yet more financial success.
The director general of IRENA, Adnan Amin, said: “Global installed PV capacity reached 222GW at the end of 2015 and is expected to further rise to 4,500 GW by 2050.”
The research as published in the report, suggests that solar panel waste could be as much as 78 million tonnes by 2050. China accounts for a significant percentage of this waste production, at a projected 20 million tonnes of PV panel waste.
Recycled materials and components from waste solar panels can be used for the manufacturing of new panels or sold into the global resource material industry. The report is confidant that the solar panel industry will benefit significantly from the recycling of end-of-life panels, as a circular economy will result in a self-sufficient sector.
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