Solar panels offer a shelf life of about 25-30 years or more but eventually become inefficient and exhausted from their useful qualities. These items then become important materials to recycle. Throughout their lifespan, PV solar panel modules may show a decrease in its power capacity. Consumers and businesses with a pile of expired solar panels typically consider where the best company to recycle scrap PV solar panel modules is.
American homes and commercial buildings boasted more than one million installations of solar panels nationwide. What happens when these panels have exhausted their shelf life? Interco recycles them.
By 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life and that the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar eWaste annually.
Old panels are between 85 to 90 percent glass and aluminum by weight, which means they can be recycled relatively easily. Interco, a leader in solar panel recycling, processes solar panels from across North America.
Energy production of solar panel modules can decline by what manufacturers consider to be a significant amount therefore Interco offers services for disposal. Interco is the best company to recycle scrap PV solar panel modules because the newly recycled raw materials return to the industrial world.
Recycling Scrap PV Solar Panel Modules
The best company to recycle scrap PV solar panels modules have the proper expertise and credentials to recycle the materials. The company must adhere strictly to environmental laws and regulations. Interco overcomes these obstacles.
Experts estimated that approximately 500,000 solar panels were being installed globally every day in 2015. In fact, solar panels are listed in most states in the U.S. as common waste, and it is lawful to send them to landfills despite environmental hazards.
Solar panels are composed of photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight into electricity. When these panels enter landfills, valuable resources go to waste. Additionally, solar panels contain toxic materials like lead that can leak out as they break down.
The high number of solar panels installed in the U.S. has created a need to effectively recycle solar panels. It can be expensive to recycle solar panels. Consequently, there are not many companies with the resources to recycle solar panels effectively.
Interco recycles solar panels according to their types. The two main types are categorized as silicon-based or thin-filmed panels.
The Process of Recycling Solar Panels
Recycling PV solar panel modules are possible through a certified recycling center. Recycling centers like Interco, which recycle solar panels use the following measures to process a silicon module:
- Removing the aluminum frame (100% reusable)
- Separating the glass along a conveyor belt (95% reusable)
- Thermal processing at 500 degrees Celsius
- This allows for the evaporation of small plastic components and allows the cells to be easier separated.
- Etching away silicon wafers and smelting them into reusable slabs (85% reusable)
In fact, silicon solar modules are primarily composed of glass, plastic, and aluminum: three materials commonly recycled in mass quantities. Silicon solar modules contain about 5% of silicon, which cannot be recycled.
Thin-film panels are recyclable too. The materials that can be reused from thin-film solar panels is as follows:
- 89% glass
- 6% aluminum
- 4% plastic
- 1% metal
The Best Company for Recycling PV Solar Panel Modules
Industry professionals recognize the clean, renewable energy bolsters local economies, helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and require little maintenance over the lifespan of the investment compared to other forms of energy generation.
Interco offers creative solutions, competitive pricing, and quality service throughout the supply chain. The company has been an industry leader providing metals, computers, and electronics recycling services with a focused track record of innovation and integrity since 1996.
Four patent-pending material processing plants give Interco the capacity to process more than 10 million pounds of computers, electronics, batteries, solar panels, and alternative energy generation and storage equipment monthly.
Overall, there is no national program or requirement to safely dispose of solar panels. However, Interco offers services that allow users to recycle solar panels. The importance of recycling solar panels increases every day. Additionally, Interco recycles solar panels from across North America. Even solar panels from the Caribbean find their way to Interco for recycling. Contact Interco here to learn more about the best company to recycle scrap PV solar panel modules.