By now, we’ve heard all of the benefits of switching to clean, green solar power. They’ll survive for decades on your roof with low maintenance, you’ll slash your power bills whilst helping in the fight against climate change and benefitting from various government incentive schemes, and you’ll ramp up your home’s value as the cherry on top. The naysayers, however, will often try to spoil the party by insisting that solar panels aren’t really ‘green’ at all as they can’t be recycled. So is that true? Can old solar panels be recycled, or not?
Answer: Yes, solar panels can be recycled
As with most things, though, there’s a little more to the story. For instance, if there is a downside to Australia’s incredible solar uptake rate at present, it’s that the end-of-life recycling phase is indeed struggling to keep up with demand. There are now well over 3 million Australian homes producing their own solar power, meaning the issue of recycling rather than dumping into landfill is now becoming a pressing one.
And with a green industry that is central to Australia’s clean, green, sustainable future, recyclability is an absolute must. So if you do have concerns, we’ve heard all your most pressing questions about solar panel recycling and have all the answers right here:
Solar panels can be recycled: Our helpful Q&A
Q: How urgent is the problem?
A: Of course it’s urgent – but we also need to put it into context. For instance, although demand has been exponentially surging over the past decade, the vast bulk of those installations won’t be anywhere near the recycling phase for many, many years. The supply-demand market means that over the next decade or two, the recycling issue will steadily get solved.
Q: Sure, but can solar panels be recycled in Australia right now?
A: If you’d asked just a few years ago, the critics would have been correct to point out that solar panel recycling in Australia was pretty thin on the ground. But full-on, large scale solar panel recycling facilities are now starting to go fully operational, like the panel-crushing facility in Melbourne that went online late last year.
Q: How much of solar panels can be recycled?
A: Good question – and the answer is good news indeed. The Melbourne plant we mentioned above says the aim is that 100% of the solar PV modules and all related components – including inverters, mounting structures, optimisers and cables – will be able to be totally broken down and channelled into existing recycling streams. The best bit? The entire process is 100% chemical-free.
A similar operation will go online in South Australia shortly, and another Melbourne company has received full federal government backing to pioneer solar panel ‘upscaling’.
Q: How are solar panels recycled?
A: Another good question – and, again, one with a very satisfying answer. The great news is that solar panels are made almost completely out of glass, plastic and aluminium – three materials that are highly and easily recyclable. It gets a bit complex in that the materials need to be meticulously separated, but advanced machinery is making that process easier and easier.
Let’s improve solar panel sustainability – Together!
So can solar panels be recycled in Australia? The next time a naysayer tries to bring down the industry, you’re now armed with the key answers – thanks to the passionate team right here at Solar Repair Service!
The absolute best way to ensure your solar panel system is as sustainable as possible is by extending its life by keeping it in tip-top shape – which means regular inspections, solar panel maintenance, specialised solar panel cleaning and swift, affordable solar panel repairs.
Need help with any of that around Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Redland Bay and beyond? Hit us up here at Solar Repair Service and, together, we’ll help to keep the sustainability of solar panels heading onwards and upwards!