L R AS Published on Sunday 25 September 2022 - n° 417 - Categories:recycling
The volume of end-of-life panels to be recycled worldwide
The IEA PVSP study examines the situation of end-of-life panels worldwide. "The current low volumes, limited available recycling technologies, logistical challenges and undeveloped markets for recovered materials result in a high cost, low revenue scenario for the recycling of panels.Current low volumes, currently limited available recycling technologies, logistical challenges and undeveloped markets for recovered materials result in a high cost, low revenue scenario for PV panel recycling worldwide.
Estimated cumulative global waste volumes of PV panels at end of life :
Under the medium scenario of steady loss from an analysis conducted in 2016, about 1.7 million tonnes of end-of-life PV panel waste is expected by 2030; 60 million tonnes by 2050. Under the early loss scenario, there would be 8 million tonnes by 2030 and 78 million tonnes by 2050.
In Europe, recycling of PV panels has been mandatory since 2012 under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. All producers of PV panels on the EU market operate their own take-back and recycling schemes or join producer compliance schemes.
According to Eurostat statistics, 13,951 tonnes of PV panel waste were collected in 12 European countries in 2018.
Germany reportedly collected 7,865 tonnes of PV panels in 2018 (56% of the total). Of this volume, 7,708 tonnes were recovered. Of these, 6,896 tonnes were recycled and prepared for reuse.
Monocrystalline silicon panels are mainly recycled by glass recyclers. First Solar operates a dedicated recycling line for cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film PV panels in Frankfurt.
There will be between 400,000 tons and 1 million tons of PV waste by 2030 in Germany. This figure will rise to 4.3 million tonnes by 2050.
France reportedly collected 4,905 tonnes of PV waste in 2019 (35% of the total). Soren, a non-profit eco-organisation, has a monopoly on the management of PV panel waste in the country, managing both its collection and recycling through private tenders. In February 2021, it launched a new tender for three new PV recycling facilities in France. One of them started operating in 2021, and the other two will start in 2022.
France could have 43,000 tonnes of PV waste by 2030, and over 118,000 tonnes by 2040.
Spain reportedly collected 226 tonnes of PV waste in 2019.
Italy could see between 140,000 and 500,000 tonnes of PV waste by 2030, rising to 2.2 million tonnes by 2050.
PV Magazine 23 September 2022
Editor's note: These figures are bizarre. That collections in Germany represent more than half of the volume collected in Europe, perhaps, but this figure seems too high, as does that of France in relation to the whole of Europe. It is not normal that Italy and Spain, pioneers in the installation of panels, have such a low contribution.