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How Are Solar Panels Recycled?

Recycling Solar Panels In Backyard

Today, solar power is slowly taking its place in the energy industry. Many households are utilising solar panels to sustain the energy needed by every home. Such can happen as a lot of people are aiming towards a more environmentally conscious way of living, and using renewable sources, such as solar power, is one of them. Many companies are developing more and more solar systems to be used not only on a large scale but even in single households.

How to Dispose Solar Panels?

As solar panel use starts to boom, there will come a time when disposing of them will be a significant dilemma for the consumers. Solar panels can last up to 30 years. Even though that is still a long time, an established recycling procedure should now be in place for when the time comes that it is needed, it should be readily available.

So How Do Solar Panels Undergo Recycling?

Recycling is a tedious process because of the many parts that the panels have. Silicon-based PV panels contains 76% glass, 11% plastic, 8% aluminium, 5% silicon and 1% metal while thin-film based panels is composed of 89% glass, 4% plastic, 6% aluminium and 1% metal. The process can be difficult and complicated because the materials are separated first, and recycling companies use machines and follow some standard steps to carry out the whole process.

The Process

The silicon-based and thin-film based PV panels undergo different recycling processes also.

The first step of recycling silicon-based PV panels is disassembling the glass and removing the aluminium parts. All the metal parts are reusable, while the glass is 95% reusable. The other materials get exposed to a 500°C temperature in a thermal processing unit. Exposing the panels to extreme heat will melt and evaporate the plastic, thus, exposing the silicon cells. The evaporation of the plastic cell serves as the heat energy source for the thermal process. The exposed silicon cells are now separated physically, and almost 80% of them are reusable. The etching process is next, which requires adding acid to the silicon particles. Broken silicon particles are melted and used again to build new silicon modules producing an 85% recycling rate.

On the other hand, thin film-based panels are shredded first into pieces to remove the lamination. Then, a rotating screw separates the solid and liquid parts. Acid and peroxide then combine and remove the film. The liquid part then undergoes precipitation and dewatering. After, the end product goes through metal processing and separation. The process ensures that there is a 95% recycling rate for the semiconductors. Removing the interlayer material of the substantial part is done by the vibration process. Rinsing the glass will make it ready to be used again.

How to Tackle Waste Management?

By 2050, around 60 – 80 million tons of photovoltaic (PV) panels will fill the landfills if recycling measures are not existing. When this happens, using solar power as a means to help the environment will be in question as its proper disposal will be a problem.

Recycled Solar Panels

Using solar panels has a lot of benefits, and it looks like recycling it has excellent benefits, as well. PV recycling can create a lot of work opportunities and can pose a considerable amount of recoverable value soon. Because almost all the parts are reusable, new raw materials are not needed to create new panels. Production of higher energy will now be possible by using previously used materials. This opportunity will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the solar energy and recycling industry shortly.

If you are looking for a reliable company that you can trust with your solar panel needs, please call Solar Shop Online at 1300 620 290 today. We offer a wide array of solar products, and we provide solar installing and servicing in Australia and New Zealand. To request a quote, please send us an email at info@solarshoponline.com.au, and we will get back to you as promptly as we can.