From Clean Energy to Clean Disposal: Recycling Your Solar Panels | Simply Solar

There are so many benefits to going solar, and among them the benefit to the planet by offsetting other forms of energy that pollute our atmosphere. But solar panels don’t last forever. In fact, they degrade in performance over time, with panels able to grab and convert less and less energy until they reach the end of their effective lifespan at about 25 years. And for many of the early adaptors of solar energy, their panels are beginning to reach that point of no return. 

When the time comes to upgrade your solar panels, you don’t want to contribute additional waste to a planet you’ve spend the last few decades helping. Is recycling an option? 

Recycling Solar Panels: The Process

Most of the pieces that make up a solar panel can be recycled, which is good news. However, the process is not as straightforward as it could be with machinery and labor involved in separating the PV panel into its parts.

  • The Aluminum Frame – It’s 100% recyclable once removed.
  • Glass panels – These need to be separated along a conveyor belt, and are 95% reusable. 
  • Include a thermal processing at 500 degrees Celsius to allow the solar cells to be more easily separated.
  • The silicon wafers can be smelted down back into the slabs of material they began as with an 85% reusability rate. 

The European Solar Recycling Solution

In other parts of the world, solar recycling is further along. In Europe, solar panel recycling has a process that is more advanced and allows for nearly 96% of materials to be recouped and reused. 

In the United States, however, recycling becomes an issue of cost and return. The process for breaking down a solar panel and safely recycling its parts is more expensive than the resale of the recyclable parts recovered. 

Current and Future Solar Panel Recycling Needs

Being sustainable must be a part of a solar panel from beginning through to the end of its lifecycle. Most solar installations in the United States popped up in the last 10 years, and still have at least another 10 years of solar energy-giving life left. The industry is calling for a shift in focus to plan for the future and keep all of these solar panels from filling up future landfills. And hopefully to reclaim materials to produce the next generation’s solar energy. The need for aftermarket solar panel recyclers will increase over time.  

Our Commitment to Clean

We are always looking to find ways to help more people go solar because it’s clean, it’s good to our planet, and it can save you money. Simply Solar California can design the right solar energy system for your home, and help you be a part of the solution for a greener earth. By the time your solar panels have matured, decades from now, and the recycling issue has been resolved, you’re looking at greener energy for a greener earth—and more green in your pocket.  

Simply solar is committed to quality service, and ensuring you have a system on your roof that outperforms expectations for years to come. We are the only solar company to stand behind our work with our industry leading 10-Point Guarantee. Our guarantee is our promise to you to show up, do the job right, and leave you satisfied as you collect unlimited energy from the sun. Learn more about the 10-Point Guarantee.

If you’ve considered solar energy, click here to get a free, no strings estimate of what solar panels at your home or business would cost.