In an effort to “cement the sustainability” of U.S. solar, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has launched a first-of-its-kind national solar photovoltaic recycling program.
Working alongside major solar manufacturers and installer-developers – including First Solar, SunPower and Trina Solar – SEIA says it has established a network of cost-effective recyclers that can responsibly manage PV waste and end-of-life disposal of PV panels.
“Our goal is make the entire solar industry landfill-free,” explained Tom Kimbis, SEIA’s interim president. “By establishing a national network of collection points, recycling facilities and an easy-to-use consumer Web portal, this proactive program will help drive down the cost of recycling for all parties involved. This means the environment wins, and so do our solar consumers and companies.”
SEIA notes that PV panels, which can last for decades, are mainly made up of easy-to-recycle materials, including glass and aluminum, which can be successfully recovered and reused at the end of their useful life.
“With more than 227 GW of solar modules installed worldwide, recycling is important for all PV technologies and the sustainability of the industry as a whole,” said Alex Heard, senior vice president of global technical services at First Solar. “By making affordable PV recycling solutions more accessible to consumers, SEIA’s recycling program will help to ensure that today’s clean energy solutions do not pose a future waste burden.”
SEIA says it is planning proactive waste management strategies that include investing in research and development in recycling technologies. The group’s goal is to create a long-term global circular economy.
“As solar energy becomes mainstream, it’s critical that industry leaders focus on recycling and diverting waste from landfills,” added Marty Neese, chief operating officer of SunPower.