How to Recycle Solar Modules
Recycling solar panels saves money for manufacturers by allowing them to repurpose existing materials.
Solar modules have an expected lifespan of approximately 20 years. When disposed of at a landfill rather than recycled, these panels can leach cadmium, silicon tetrachloride, sulfur hexafluoride and selenium into the soil if processed incorrectly. As the first generation of solar panels comes of age, manufacturers and environmental organizations have created recycling programs to reuse module materials.
Contact your solar module manufacturer to learn about its recycling program or those of any external agencies it recommends. If the manufacturer does not point you to to a recycling program, you can contact an independent recycler such as First Solar or PV Recycling.
Complete and submit a request for collection. You can normally find these forms on the recycler’s website. Some organizations provide different forms depending on whether the request is coming from a commercial or residential source, or from a manufacturer, distributor, integrator or utility.
Dismantle and package the modules according to the recycler’s instructions. Some organizations will provide you with the necessary packing materials.
Ship or transport the modules according to the recycler’s directions. Some recyclers provide pickup and transportation for the modules.
- First Solar: Prefunded Collection and Recycling Program
- The Daily Green: Solar Panel Recycling Gears Up
- PV Recycling: Recycle Solar Panels