As is common with fast-growing markets, little thought has been given until recently to end-of-life disposal considerations for solar modules. Currently, solar disposal makes up only a small percentage of the number being installed, and the majority of disposal presently in the U.S. is due to damage to the panels during transportation and installation or from severe weather events.
The design life of a solar module is 30 years. In the next 5-10 years, states will begin to see a sharp spike in the number of modules that will need to be reused or recycled. Solutions include:
- Early engagement on module takeback models with national, state, and local stakeholders
- Feedback loops with public utilities and contractors for resource and system planning
- Consideration for impacts on landfills, collection and transportation for reuse, recycling, and secondary material markets
- Education and outreach to businesses & communities