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Discord over WEEE link for PV panels

Europe – The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) has voiced its opposition to regulating the disposal of photovoltaic (PV) panels under the EU’s Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), according to a report in ENDS.

EU member states have disagreed with the European Parliament’s vote earlier this year to exempt PV panels from the scope of the WEEE legislation. But in their response to a consultation document, the EPIA and another association, PV Cycle, have objected to the conclusion of a study which calls for PV panels to come under the Directive.

Glass-making industry association Glass for Europe also argues that the potential impact of the inclusion proposal has not been subjected to sufficient scrutiny. According to the EPIA and PV Cycle, they will accept the inclusion of PV panels within the WEEE Directive only if the sector’s voluntary take-back scheme – based on a single European fee – is accepted as an implementing measure.

Under the WEEE Directive, the fees paid vary according to the member states in which companies sell their products, the trade associations maintain. They also suggest that the proposed 65% target for the collection of all WEEE by weight does not suit PV panels because of the products’ long life-span of typically 30 years; the target is set according to the volumes of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market in the previous three years.

Among those supporting the EU member states’ stance, European waste management association FEAD says inclusion of PV panels in WEEE would simplify the compliance measurement procedure while providing legal certainty and an incentive to invest in treatment facilities.

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