Can Solar Panels Be Recycled?

can solar panels be recycled

Solar panels are a very effective way to produce renewable energy and minimize our environmental impact. While they do last for decades of use, the photovoltaic cells within solar panels eventually stop harnessing effective amounts of solar power. So, where do solar panels go once they’re done producing electricity? Can solar panels be recycled? The answer to these questions resides in the dismantling of solar panels after use. This article will outline the basic operations of solar panel recycling

Can Solar Panels Be Recycled? YES! 

Can solar panels be recycled? Yes, solar panels can be recycled! Solar panels represent humanity’s ingenuity and efforts to source power responsibly – we understand the need for clean and sustainable power today more than we ever had before. Yet, the threat of previously used solar panels piling up in landfills can be an issue if people don’t bother to take steps to recycle them properly. Instead of letting these resources go to waste and adding to the problem, solar panel recycling allows raw materials to be repurposed and eventually put back into use. Thankfully, solar panels are made from various recyclable materials such as glass, copper wires, and aluminum. 

Recycled Materials

There are several parts of solar panels that can be recycled. Solar panels with non-recyclable materials can still be repurposed; it’s just a little more difficult. Although silicon cells are not reusable, specialty recycling companies can melt them down and reclaim their materials. In general, all solar panel materials are recyclable with the correct process. The following solar panel materials are always capable of being recycled: 

  • Plastics
  • Glass
  • Wiring
  • Metals
  • Plexiglas

The Recycling Process

While most solar panel materials are recyclable, the process can be quite tedious, depending on the age and type of solar panel. It begins by removing the aluminum frame, which is always completely recyclable. From there, the solar panel’s glass is separated for thermal processing at 500 degrees Celsius, and small plastics are evaporated. Finally, silicon cells are smelted into recyclable slabs, which get distributed out to buyers.

Reused Solar Panels

Sometimes, solar panels aren’t broken down or recycled at all; they’re simply transferred to a different location. This cycle is known as solar panel reuse, or the complete redistribution of previously used renewable energy. This process helps keep solar panels out of landfills altogether and use up every bit of energy they’re capable of producing, even if they’re not producing the same amounts of energy as they had been when new. 

Can Solar Panels Be Recycled? The Benefits of Recycling Solar Panels

The point of using renewable energy is to help our environment, reduce as much waste as possible, reduce our grid dependency, and save everyone money. Recycling solar panel material promotes sustainability and ensures a promising future for solar panels in Texas and the Texas solar industry. 

As one of the premier solar companies in Houston, we’re always excited to educate and share the benefits of solar energy cultivation with people.  If you’ve been looking for a residential or commercial solar company for a solar installation in Texas, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

can solar panels be recycled