Not everything that looks sustainable stays in this way. Ever wonder what happens with solar panels after their life-cycle ends? Most manufactures guarantee 20 per cent decrease in efficiency when they reach 20 per cent. However, reality pinpoints to solely 6 to 8 per cent decrease. The current waste is insignificant, but we also need to think ahead. Solar panels are unfortunately fall under the general waste regulation, with a mere exception at EU-level. Namely, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.
If recycling won’t be put in place, there would be more than 60 million tons of PV panel waste by year 2050. Since all panels have in their composition toxic materials, this would become a typical not-sustainable way of sourcing energy.
Solar panels recycling not only brings more green job opportunities, but also a possibility of 11 billion pounds in recoverable materials by 2050. This influx translates in the production of new solar panels without any investment in raw materials.