Solar Panel Disposal Rules and Safety Concerns in the UK

Currently, solar energy shares 4.3% of the UK’s total electricity consumption. Responsive citizens are now more inclined towards renewable power sources, triggering defunct PV panel landfills. Thus, inoperable solar panel disposal in the garbage and its environmental impact is a growing concern for the country.

Both crystalline silicon and thin film solar panels are hazardous wastes. Disposing of these insensibly can lead to severe environmental damage – soil toxicity, air pollution, etc. Furthermore, recycling helps in procuring several rare and valuable materials for remanufacturing solar panels at a fraction of the cost.

Here is a detailed guide to help you dispose of your disused solar panels in line with the state compliances and embark on a green and sustainable future.

Lifespan of Solar Panels

The Sun is a renewable source of power but solar panels are not. This clean electricity equipment has a 25 to 30-year life cycle or less depending on panel type, weather-influenced degradation, etc. However, the average life cycle of solar panels is around 10-15 years.

These PV systems guarantee up to 80% power output during their lifespan. The system continues to produce power beyond this period but at a reduced rate. The gradually dropping energy efficiency indicates the end-of-life cycle of your PV panels.

Environmental Impact of Improper PV Panel Disposal

Solar panels disposed of in landfills release toxic substances into the environment. This includes heavy metallic and chemical compounds like silver, cadmium, lead, arsenic, and other elements. Cadmium belongs to group 1 carcinogens, while lead is classified as a human carcinogen (group 2A) [32]. Both these elements and their compounds can damage the immune system in human beings. Cadmium is also a poisonous water pollutant, causing severe damage to aquatic flora and fauna.

Solar Panel Disposal Regulations and Policies in the UK

Industrial and residential solar panel recycling policies in the UK are based on the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, passed by the EU in 2012. As per the EU Regulations, installers of solar panels are bound to collect the damaged solar panel from your residence, office, factory, etc.

The UK continues to abide by the WEEE regulations even after the Brexit withdrawal in 2020. According to the existing laws, the importers and manufacturers of solar panels must follow the norms of the Producer Compliance Scheme for proper disposal and recycling of solar panels at the end of their life. While the legislation encourages manufacturers to collect the inoperative panels,
there is no legal enforcement.

Guidelines for Responsible Solar Panel Disposal

It is a collective responsibility to facilitate the safe disposal of mutilated PV panels when they need replacement. The immediate thought may prompt consumers to discard the panels into waste, but this is not a safe option.

Since 96% of the materials can be reused for the future production of new panels, it makes sense to opt for responsible recycling of such e-waste items. Property owners with such panels within their premises may contact a local certified solar panel recycler for the purpose.

Solar Panel Collection and Recycling Facilities

There are limited opportunities for recycling solar panels in the UK. Luckily, a few certified companies offer worn-out panel removal services. The work conducted under trained professionals ensures safety and reliability.

The team of experts at Evolution Solar Recycling has years of experience in removing solar e-waste panels from factories, homes, and commercial areas. We implement advanced tools to prevent the release of harmful elements into the surrounding premises.


Damaged and malfunctioning PV panels can be recycled safely to prevent dangerous chemical toxicity and the release of carcinogenic substances. Large volumes of industrial solar panels may require specialized removal techniques. Always schedule a disposal session with a certified recycling agent.

Contact professionals at Evolution Solar Recycling when you want to replace PV panels. We are one of the best certified solar panel recyclers in the UK. After removing the old panels from your site, we issue a certificate of recycling.

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