Innovation Is Making Solar Panels Harder To Recycle

Read the full story in Forbes.

Solar panels are becoming less and less recyclable as the need for recycling them looms more and more.

The United States installs 7 million pounds per day of solar panels, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a pace that secures only fourth place among countries for installed capacity. Those panels are built to last 30 years, which foretells a huge demand for recycling decades ahead and an increasing demand sooner, as some panels succumb to damage or fall short of their warrantied performance.

Two months ago you read in this column that innovation is making lithium-ion batteries harder to recycle. Just as lithium-ion manufacturers have learned to cut down on expensive cobalt, solar-panel manufacturers have gotten very good at omitting their most expensive ingredient: silver.

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