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Should we really think of solar panels as waste after 25 years?

Source : Down to Earth

Notes by Narsi

An interesting report from Down to Earth presents valuable data presented on solar panel recycling, both the opportunity and the challenge.

Bottom line: Recycling solar panels is not as remunerative as it appears at first sight.

We (both India and the world) perhaps have until about 2030 when the need for disposing of panels starts to bite. Not a lot of time, but hopefully enough time for technologies to emerge that can reduce the cost of separating the materials and recycling.

There’s another way to look at this: Even though a solar power project life is generally considered to be about 25 years, a solar panel can continue producing electricity for many years after that. In fact, for many good solar panels, their yields after 25 years can be close to 90% of their initial yield, and it could be about 80% even after 50 years. Such statistics make one ask: Why should we at all dispose of these solar panels after 25 years? Can’t we continue using them in some way for another 25?

See all Insights from: Renewable Energy


  • Environmental sciences
  • Material sciences
  • Policy-making
  • Renewable energy sciences