The good news is that NSW Grants to Increase Solar Panel Recycling, high value mixed metal dust annually, with plans to increase their facilities, and intake ability, moving forward. Solar panels provide a sustainable energy option for us. At present, it is one of the cheapest and easily deployable energy solutions for end-users as well as distributors.
60 million tons of solar panel waste
Globally, 60 million tons of solar panel waste are expected by the end of 2050. Thus, as with any other product, their life cycle management becomes crucial in controlling the carbon dioxide balance in the atmosphere. As of 2020, NSW is the state with the most rooftop PV installations in Australia. The next decade will see the emergence of the first batch of PV wastes from the earlier solar uptake. The government forecasts about 71,000 tonnes per year of solar waste per year by 2035 in NSW.
The average life expectancy of solar panels is around 25-30 year. After this span, based on the type of panels, different recycling measures can be adopted. For silicon-based solar panels, about 95% of the glass and 85% of the silicon can be reused. These panels also constitute about 9% metals (8% aluminum and 1% others). At the same time, plastic is reused as a heat source for thermal processing to separate silicon cells from their encapsulations.
The NSW government will invest AUD 10 million in Solar Panel Recycling. This will be a major step to combat the wastes arising from solar panels and battery systems. Above all, grants are available for projects to improve the collection and recycling of solar and battery storage systems. As part of his scheme, $2 million is available for trial projects. After the evaluation of the expression of interests, the remaining funds would be made available.
Where will Solar Recycling go from here?
New research, new regulations, and an ever-changing, forward-thinking industry will likely see a big uptake in solar part recycling over the next five years. According to a study conducted by the University of NSW, the solar recycling industry will be expanded in the next couple of years.