Report: Solar PV Recycling Offers Significant Untapped Business Opportunity
The IEA-PVPS and IRENA have launched the report End-of-Life Management: Solar Photovoltaic Panels, which is the first-ever projection of PV panel waste volumes to 2050.
The report can be found here. Some key findings are:
1. Projections of PV panel waste to 2050 are made for the first time, incorporating (the sparse) available data about panel failures at different stages. We find that panel waste could represent more than 10% of total global e-waste (all categories), and nearly equaling the mass going into new installations by 2050.
2. The technical potential of recoverable materials have a potential value of nearly $15 billion by 2050 and could provide enough raw materials to produce 2 billion new panels (630 GW). Such value embodied in end of life panels could spawn new industries or business lines
3. Enabling policy frameworks and technology R&D are needed to address the challenge and will entail long lead times, given experience with e-waste and the European experience with WEEE extending to PV. Lessons learned that are summarized in this report can help guide the future effort. Supporting data collection and analysis are critical to providing information and insights necessary for strategic investments and effective, efficient and affordable end of life management strategies.