Is it possible to recycle solar panels? Here’s what you need to know

Solar power can be a great investment that will provide clean energy for many years. While a high-quality solar system may last for more than 30 years without any major repairs, its useful life span will end eventually. North Carolina residents might wonder if solar panels can be recycled after that time.

The short answer to that question is yes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that end-of-life recycling of solar panels can be used to create new jobs and recover valuable materials. Solar Tech Elec, Charlotte’s most trusted solar company can answer any questions you may have about solar panels.

Why is Solar Panel Recycling Important?

If solar cells are not properly disposed of, they can leach compounds into the soil. Many raw materials are also being lost by solar panels that have been disposed of in landfills.

Solar power is a renewable energy source that can be used in clean, sustainable ways. Recycling solar panels can help protect the environment, and reduce landfill usage.

How do you recycle solar panels?

The most popular type of solar panels, crystallized silicon, is made from aluminum, copper, polymer and silicon solar cells. These components can be recycled in large numbers.

Solar panels can be recycled. Solar panels can be recycled or used to make new materials.


Solar panels can be recycled with minimal effort. There is still a market for solar panels, even though they cannot produce large amounts of solar power beyond their useful life span.

They can also power small sheds, RVs, and other projects that require low energy.


Glass makes up almost 75% of the solar panel’s weight. This glass can be easily recycled. You can also recycle aluminum, copper wires, and plastic junction boxes.

The panel’s weather protection is provided by a tightly sealed polymer. However, it can be difficult to recycle or disassemble as heat is required to loosen adhesives. It can also be difficult to recycle other materials in solar cells like tin, tellurium and antimony.

Solar Recycling in America

It can be difficult to recycle solar photovoltaic modules or solar module recycling, because there are many components that make up a solar panel. It is difficult and expensive to separate and recycle each of these materials.

Except for Washington, there are currently no laws that require solar photovoltaic recycling in the United States. To force manufacturers to create recycling programs, more states will need to join the initiative.

Why Solar Panels Need End-of Life Recycling

Since the 2000s, solar systems have been more popular. Many solar panels will have reached the end of their useful life by the 2030s. Recycling and properly disposing of solar panels is a new challenge.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, (IRENA), it is possible to recycle or repurpose more than 78 million tonnes of solar-system raw materials by 2050. Sectors like PV recycling will be more important as the world moves towards a more sustainable, renewable-based energy future.

This article was written by a solar expert at Solar Tech Elec. Solar Tech Elec is one of the premier solar companies in South Carolina with expanded services in North Charleston, and Florida. They work with homeowners to install photovoltaic systems and provide them with a way to save money on their energy bills, protect themselves against rising electricity prices and be part of the solution for clean renewable energy.

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