The global solar PV market has witnessed tremendous growth over the past decade, with cumulative installed capacity growing from 1,459 MW in 2000 to 40,758 MW in 2010, according to a new report from Market Research called ‘Solar Module Recycling – A Necessary Step to Maximize Environmental Benefits of the Solar PV Industry.’
This increase represented a compound annual growth rate of 40% during this period. This rise in installed capacity mainly came from increased installation activity in countries such as Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, France, the U.S. and Japan.
With the annual number of solar PV installations rising, there is a growing need for processing PV waste in the coming years, the report adds. The waste generated by end-of-life modules in 2025 is expected to be approximately 24,855 tons. This waste is expected to further increase to 1,161,173 tons by 2035.
Crystalline modules will account for the majority of solar PV waste generated during this period, rising from 19,475 tons of waste generated in 2025, to 1,098,282 tons by 2035. Against this backdrop, PV recycling will become an emerging market during these 15 years, Market Research predicts.
For every watt of PV module treated in the recycling unit, $0.58 in recycled value is expected to be generated in 2025. With a 100% collection rate, 278 MW of end-of-life modules are expected to be recycled in 2025.
Due to the rising trend of annual installations during the period from 2000 to 2010, it is expected that the end-of-life modules will increase to 17,000 MW by 2035, while the per-watt recycled product value of these modules is expected to reach $1.21. The major factors driving this trend are the rising annual installation trends during 2000-2010 and the expected increase in recycling rates of module materials, as well as the market price variations of these materials.