Disposal of solar panels: legislation, costs and problems to be addressed. Indications for disposing of photovoltaic roofs that have now reached the end of their life cycle. Advice also for those who have to dispose of small quantities of broken or disused photovoltaic panels.
In recent decades, the production of energy through the use of technologyphotovoltaichas increased. Most in demand in the marketphotovoltaicis satisfied bysolar modules based on silicon, commonly constructed from a crystalline silicon wafer.
THE photovoltaic modules do not last forever, after a period of about 30 years the panels will have to be dismantled and the procedure for disposal.
Disposal of solar panels and GSE
In Italy, to deal with thedisposal of solar panelsconsortia are determined. Who wants dispose of solar panels, will in fact have to contact the consortia that have joined the "solar panel disposal system”Pursuant to the Technical Regulations published by the GSE.
The list of groups that have joined the consortium ofdisposal of solar panelsis proposed in the our photo gallery. To view the list of consortia and addresses, scroll to image number 8.
TheGSE, provided instructions for itdisposal of photovoltaic panelsincentivized. In practice, those who benefited from the Energy Account, proving to GSE that they have correctly disposed of their plant, will be able to obtain an economic share.
How does this measure work? Starting from the eleventh year of the incentive, the GSE deducts from the incentive tariffs (of the I, II, III Conto Energia), an economic quota to guarantee that the total management of waste deriving from photovoltaic panels is carried out as required by law.
The amount withheld by the GSE will be returned only when the user has proven that he has properly disposed of his old photovoltaic system. Proof of proper disposal must be provided to GSE by sending properly completed documentation, within 6 months of disposal.
The plants that have joined the IV and V Conto Energia are excluded from this mechanism of the GSE because, automatically, they join a consortium that will guarantee the recovery and recycling of the panels free of charge.
Disposal of solar panels, legislation
The reference legislation for thedisposal of photovoltaic panelsis the same as for the WEEE waste disposal. On 28 March 2014, the law decree n.49 / 2014 was published in the Official Gazette and for the first time, photovoltaic panels fall into the WEEE category.
The law decree n. 49/2014 "Implementation of Directive 2012/19 / EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)”, Groups the various electronic waste by category.
Photovoltaic and WEEE disposal
In summary! Everyone must ensure the correct disposal of solar panels and must do so by contacting a consortium suitable for GSE. With the exception of those who have joined the IV and V Conto Energia. In detail:
- The plants that have joined the IV and V Conto Energia entered into operation after 01/07/2012 are exempt from the obligations of photovoltaic disposal as they were already subject to the management mechanism through specific Consortia that guarantee it disposal at the end of life.
- The plants with incentives I, II and III Conto Energia have a guarantee mechanism thanks to which those who providedispose ofcorrectly the old photovoltaic system will be able to obtain the quotas retained by the GSE. Within 6 months of disposal, the GSE will pay the withheld shares. These users must prove to GSE that they have disposed of the modules according to the WEEE regulations.
What does the WEEE regulation say? Here too there are several case studies.
- Old domestic photovoltaic system.
Plants with power below 10kWp are consideredDomestic WEEE and the responsibility of thedisposalis the responsibility of the manufacturer of the solar modules. For owners of domestic photovoltaic systems with power below 10kWp, thedisposalthere is no cost, it's free! They will have to contact the module manufacturer to arrange delivery.
- Plants with power greater than or equal to 10kWp placed on the market by 12 April 2014.
The responsibility is borne by the producers only in case of replacement of the system with a new one. Alternatively, the owner of the plant will have to contact the consortium for disposal.
- Plants with power greater than or equal to 10kWp placed on the market after 12 April 2014.
The responsibility is always borne by the manufacturer, just as it occurs for domestic ones.
The recycling of solar panels
THEsolar panelsdisused if not disposed of correctly, they risk being treated as industrial waste. In fact, oneexhausted solar cell still has a lot to offer. Current disposal and recycling techniques make it possible to recover the main metals and glass.
There are many groups of researchers trying to understand how to overcome the problems related to the disposal of photovoltaics. The aim is to find a method to fully recover the crystalline silicon wafers of the exhausted modules.
A process ofdisposal of solar panelswhich can be applied on an industrial scale involves the use of fluidized bed reactors. This process is already used by some companies specialized indisposal of modules.
In the reactor, a particular fine sand is placed at high temperatures until it reaches a liquid consistency. Crystalline silicon wafers are immersed in this liquid (fluidized sand) for a time of 45 minutes and a temperature of 450 ° C.
The sandwich structure of the solar cellbegins to lose the EVA film (a layer of ethylene vinyl acetate that “films” the silicon wafer). The ethylene vinyl acetate evaporates and 80% ofsolar cellsobtained from this process are mechanically intact.
The process ofrecycling of solar cellsit is not yet concluded. The high temperatures reached in the fluidized reactor cause a large loss of efficiency by the silicon wafer. At this point the solar cells must be isolated andregenerated.
The regeneration takes place through a sequence of chemical processes optimized both in terms of timing and in terms of costs.
At the end of the process, an analysis using an EDX spectrometer shows the residual silicon. The fluidized bed reactor manages to delaminate i photovoltaic modules in order to allow an optimal recovery of the materials used in the construction of thesolar cell.