Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular with people wanting to become more energy efficient. There are a lot of people looking into solar energy as opposed to other forms of energy. However, this leaves the question of what happens to them once you are done with them? If you’ve recently found yourself getting rid of solar panels that are no longer serving a purpose or if you’re clearing a property, then you might be wondering what exactly happens to these solar panels. If you’ve ever seen solar panels they are quite large and usually there is more than one in an area. It’s important to note that solar panels, at least the majority of the materials used in them, are recyclable.
This article is presented by the pros at Go Solar Energy NC! We’re part of the top-rated solar companies in NC helping home and business owners go solar.
Are Solar Panels Recyclable?
Solar panels are recyclable.Typically, solar panels last about 30 years before they start to lose power or before they just simply do not produce as much power, so you definitely can look into recycling them. Solar panels have a lot of different materials and components that can be used in different ways. Typically, the most common material from solar panels that get recycled is their glass panels.
How Are Solar Panels Recycled?
There are a lot of different materials that are within solar panels that can be recycled. The most common is that the solar panels will be given to a glass recycling facility since solar panels are mostly made of glass. This will help to recycle a lot of the solar panels, then the rest will be discarded or burned.
There is an aluminum frame on the solar panel that is 100% recyclable as well as the glass, which we mentioned, that is 95% recyclable. These are the two most recycled and reused materials that are on the solar panels. Luckily, these two materials make up the majority of the solar panel. The silicon within the solar panel can also be recycled by melting it into other silicon products or slabs that can be used for other things. Overall, these are the materials that are able to be recycled from a solar panel and only a little bit of the panel is left to be discarded or burned.
Why Solar Panels Aren’t Being Recycled As Much As They Should?
Unfortunately, solar panels can be difficult to recycle or they could be quite expensive to recycle. This is because the solar panels are made with recyclable materials, however, these materials have to be separated and recycled separately. Like we mentioned, the glass is the biggest part of the solar panel that’s typically recycled, but to be able to recycle the whole solar panel you would have to separate the glass from the aluminum and then that from the metal energy storing pieces inside and then that from any other materials. As you can imagine, that might be quite difficult.
Solar panels are still somewhat a new concept of energy efficiency and energy generation. This also means that the disposal of these solar panels is also new. Solar panels are being given to already made recycle facilities, such as the glass facility we mentioned. This is not necessarily beneficial when it comes to recycling a whole solar panel if your goal is to recycle as much of the panel as possible.
What Can You Do?
If you’re wondering what you can do to help solve this solar panel recycling problem there are a few things you can do. If you have solar panels or are looking into finding a way to dispose of them, then be sure to contact a solar panel recycling facility. These facilities that specifically work with solar panels are able to get as much of the material separated from the solar panel as possible which allows them to recycle each type of material individually, making mostly the whole panel recyclable.
Although solar panels are recyclable, they are not always recycled. It’s important to dispose of these panels appropriately because they are large and they will cause a lot of environmental damage if they are placed in landfills like most trash and discarded materials. It might seem more expensive to try and recycle solar panels versus throwing them in a landfill or other disposal place, but the environmental impact that you’ll be making is well worth it.
As our knowledge about solar energy and solar panel development continues to grow, so will the disposal of these products. If you’re looking to dispose of your solar panels for whatever reason, then be sure to call a solar panel recycling company so they can take your panel and make sure that all or as many of the materials as possible are recycled.
The Bottom Line
Overall, solar panels are recyclable, but the way they are recycled is still being figured out. Solar panels are made from many different recyclable materials. Typically, these solar panels are given to glass recycling facilities so that most of the panel is reused. Solar panel recycling facilities are becoming more and more popular and widespread across the states as the knowledge around disposing of these panels grows. If you are looking to get rid of your solar panels because they aren’t working or just because you’re clearing property, then you should call a solar panel recycling facility to help make sure your panels are recycled as much as possible. If you aren’t able to contact a specific solar panel recycling facility then you can contact a glass recycling facility and they will take the panels off of your hands.
Either way, it’s important that solar panels are recycled as much as they possibly can because they are very large and there is typically more than one being removed from an area at once. These panels will take up a lot of space and cause a lot of waste if they are put directly into a landfill so recycling them is the best option. Making an environmentally friendly decision can be just as simple as recycling your solar panels.
When you decide to work with a local solar company, be sure you ask if they recycle their old panels to get a better idea of their stance on solar panel recycling.