Roles of Solar Panel Waste Recycling Company to Secure Green Future

The UK has more than 10 million solar panels installed across the nation and still counting. At least one-third of the installations will require replacement in the coming years. It requires working with a reliable solar panel waste recycling company in the locality. Unfortunately, there is an acute shortage of potential infrastructure to scrap out electronic waste and repurpose valuable assets for the renewable energy market.

In this blog post, we delve into the PV panel waste management crisis in the UK and possible solutions to overcome the issue.

Critical Solar Panel Waste Extraction and Recycling Concerns

Shortage of Waste Recycling Provisions

The burden of obsolete PV panels is rising with each passing day. The net volume of panels attaining end-of-life by 2030 is estimated at around 8 million metric tons. However, there are limited options to find a certified recycler in every part of the country. 

At present, the recycling technologies for extracting raw materials from decommissioned panels offer up to 85-95% recovery of the metals in their purest forms. Researchers eye innovations in chemical technologies to recover 100% of the resources without releasing toxic elements into the environment.

Complicated Design and Disassembling

The prime consideration when deploying defunct PV panels from home premises is dealing with the complex structures. Despite the type of module installed, all solar panels have a basic weather-resistant framework for extended lifecycle. 

Solar panels contain a series of interconnected cells framed into large modules. Each solar cell comprises a sandwiched layer of interconnected aluminium, silver, and silicon wires. Furthermore, the large modules are encased in a thick layer of polymers (polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate, polyvinyl fluoride, and polyethylene terephthalate).  

However, these interconnected frameworks also make the panels difficult to remove from the site without technical knowledge.

Challenges for a Solar Panel Waste Recycling Company

The greatest challenge for the recyclers is to dismantle the components into individual elements. This requires separating the glued glass layers before accessing the precious metals and other raw materials. 

Moreover, dissolving EVA compounds in organic solvents to separate the parts is expensive. A certifier must adhere to safety norms to eliminate the risks of environmental hazards during the procedure. This includes a controlled operation to prevent leaking fumes into the air and water. 

Glass sheets are an integral part of the panels in terms of volume. However, removing the glass layers is a strenuous job and requires advanced techniques to prevent damage to the precious adjacent components. 

FRELP (Full Recovery End of Life Photovoltaic), an EU-funded research programme recommends using integrated cutting tools and infrared heating systems for removing the glass coatings from the panels.

Photovoltaic System Recycling – A Solution to Sustainable Economy

The metals are the most expensive installation in solar panels. For instance, the PV panels operate on 6N purity (99.9999%) solar-grade silicon wafers. This is six times pricier than ordinary silicon. Luckily, recycling facilitates the extraction of 100% metallic components from solar cells. 

Besides preventing environmental contamination and toxicity, recycling has emerged as a solution to gain valuable raw materials in pure form. Extracting limited resources from old electronic junk comes in handy at a minimal cost compared to purchasing materials in the market. 

Eyeing the safety of the employers in the recycling industry, the researchers and government are keen on developing autopilot systems. These AI-powered tools can lead to hazardous processes such as disassembling decommissioned panels, extracting individual elements, etc. 

Recycling is the sole alternative to overcome the severe e-waste management challenges in the country. Get in touch with a local solar panel waste recycling company to dispose of your dead PV systems to avoid escalating waste mountains.

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