Solar energy is a clean, renewable source of energy that has a positive impact on local economies and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. However, when solar panels reach the end of their lifespan, they need to be recycled to prevent landfills from filling up with discarded panels. In this article, we will explore the lifespan of solar panels and the process of recycling them. How to reuse recycled solar panels?

Glass solar panels have an average lifespan of 30 years, during which their power capacity may drop by 20%. However, experience shows that the efficiency only drops by 6 to 8 percent after 25 years. High-quality photovoltaic panels can even last up to 40 years, after which they can still be used with reduced efficiency. There are three types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are made of silicon crystals, while thin-film panels are made of various materials, such as cadmium telluride.

 

How to reuse recycled solar panels
The good news is that solar panels are recyclable

They are mainly made of glass, aluminium, plastic, and cells, all of which are decomposable. However, these materials need to be separated before they can be recycled. The recycling process involves

  • Ddisassembling the aluminium frame,
  • Separating the glass,
  • Heating the modules to 500 degrees Celsius to evaporate the small plastic components,
  • And etching off the silicon wafers to be melted down into reusable slabs.

To manage the large number of photovoltaic modules that will soon need to be recycled, a proper solar panel recycling infrastructure needs to be put in place. As an industry that prides itself on sustainability, it is important to focus on the end-of-life phase of solar panels and to take action to ensure that they are recycled responsibly.

72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (2)
Monofacial solar panels
72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (1)
All black solar panels
72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (4)
Bifacial solar panels
72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (3)
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