Australian clean energy supporters lobby for better solar recycling schemes

State and federal governments have been called upon to support solar panel recycling, as there remains to be a grey area in the industry on how and where to dispose of old and dysfunctional solar systems.

A scheme to manage solar panels across their entire life cycle had been agreed on by Australia’s environment ministers in 2018, but according to the Total Environment Centre (TEC), red tape is holding up the process.

How do you dispose of a solar energy system?

As solar panels reach the end of their lives, there are only two options to dispose of solar panels systems. 

The first option is to contact a local solar energy recycling company. They will personally come and pick up your faulty, unwanted or deceased solar panel system, with some companies even paying you to do so. Not only does this economically benefit you and saves a lot of misery in getting rid of it yourself, but it’s also the most environmentally friendly option.

The other option is to simply dispose of your old solar panels, batteries and inverters in landfill.

Not only does this cost you from making some extra cash out of your old solar system, but it can be very hazardous to the environment.

How recycling your system keeps the solar industry environmentally friendly

As solar energy continues to clean up the energy industry, offering cost saving energy options to your home or business and emitting zero greenhouse emissions, they can still be a source of pollution if not disposed of correctly.

Although the majority of a solar panel is built up of glass, polymer and aluminium, they additionally contain potentially hazardous materials in lead, copper and zinc.

As there are already over 2 million households across the nation with solar panels on their roofs, more solar panels are going to be disposed of in the coming years, creating a greater need for  a comprehensive and effective recycling process.  

As solar systems last for decades, why do we need to worry about this now?

The average solar panel has an effective lifespan of about 30 years, which is one of the many great appeals about solar, but this also means that we’re now approaching a time where a great deal of systems will be reaching the end of their operational lives.

Although the solar energy industry was nowhere near as big as it is today, the 1990’s still had its fair share of solar installations, and will have to be disposed of sooner than later.

The demand for recycling is expected to remain steady over the next 15 years, but will then skyrocket as a great deal of solar panels are retired.

Additionally, solar waste is expected to become a huge industry in itself, with a 2016 report by the International Energy Agency and International Renewable Energy Agency finding it to be worth over AU $20 billion by 2050.

What can you do now if you have an old or faulty solar system?

Having been in the solar industry for over a decade now, AICA has not only become expert solar energy installers, but are recognised for their efficient, effective and environmentally friendly solar recycling services. 

AICA gives you the option to simply have your old solar system removed or to have it removed and replaced with a brand new system. By having a new system installed on your home or business, and your old system removed, AICA can actually deduct the cost of your new system for removing your old faulty system.

If you are looking to have the solar system on your property removed or to get a brand new system altogether, don’t hesitate to call AICA on 1800 242 228.