Global – The solar panels recycling market could be worth around US$ 15 billion by the year 2050, claims a new report from the US International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency’s Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. The report also urges ‘planning for collection and recycling systems now in order to be ready for the future influx’.
According to the two organisations, used solar panels could amount to 78 million tonnes by 2050. China and the USA are expected to generate the most, followed by Japan, India and Germany. Solar panels have an average lifespan of around 30 years and most of the scrap is in the form of glass. If handled properly, 2 billion new solar panels could be produced from recycled material in the future.
According to IRENA, the challenge is preparing for the handling of this material. Arizona-based First Solar has been exploring the use of mobile recycling units that could process old panels directly at power plants, thus cutting back on high transportation costs.