While solar panels in a solar energy system are a great source of renewable energy and one of the best ways to go eco-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint, they're not built to last forever. After years of use as well as wear and tear from rough weather, animals, and other factors solar panels lose their efficacy, which naturally calls for replacement.
Since solar panels aren't like soda cans or bottled water, you can't just throw them away in a recyclable bin and be done with it, removing solar panels needs to be done by experts. When the time comes, you'll need a proper solar company like Local Solar to remove solar panels and dispose of your old solar panels and replace them with new ones.
Solar Power System Wastage: A Looming Crisis
A solar power system might look plain and simple from the outside, but in reality is made up of many smaller moving parts which include glass, aluminum, silicon, copper, lead, and cadmium. Much like plastic, these parts don't degrade quickly and naturally with soil, making them a potential toxic hazard.
With the growing number of solar installations across the world, it's highly likely that solar waste will be a big headache for eco-experts and climate activists in the coming years unless proper solar panel removal and disposal is ensured for specialized recycling which benefits everyone.
Recycling Old PV Solar Panels
Currently, there are 3 types of solar panels available in the consumer market based on make and material- polycrystalline, monocrystalline, and thin-film. Of these three the first one is made from an aluminum frame, glass, copper wire, polymer layers and a back sheet, silicon solar cells, and a plastic junction box.
While the makeup of these panels makes them durable, most of them are recyclable. An individual solar panel is mostly made from polymer and glass, which makes them easy to recycle. The parts that are more difficult to recycle can be done so with special equipment that specialized recycling companies have.
How Your Old Solar Panels Are Removed and Disposed of
If your solar panel system is deemed defective, then ideally you'll want them taken down with mounting hardware so as to not damage your roof. A professional solar panel removal service can help you get it done safely, and once they're down you can contact the nearest solar recycling service in your area. Ideally, solar recycling companies follow a simple three-step process that separates all the individual components. The steps are as follows:
Remove the frame and junction box of the solar panel and disassemble the solar equipment.
Separate the glass from silicon and other materials using mechanical or chemical processes.
Separating the chemical components and other alloys using mechanical and chemical processes.
Once all the parts have been separated, they're sent packing into their respective recycling facilities which makes them useful once again.
Reinstalling Refurbished Solar Panels: A Budget-Friendly Option
A solar system doesn't have to be upgraded with new solar panels every time; you can reinstall solar panels that are refurbished. Old solar panels can sometimes be repaired and reused and make their way back to second-hand sellers. Reinstalling solar panels that are used won't damage the electrical connections, but they won't be as efficient as new panels.
Going Green Reducing Solar Panel Wastes
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) makes solar panel recycling much easier for you through its National PV Recycling Program. Under this program, a bunch of recycling facilities and manufacturers work together to repair, refurbish, resale, and recycle solar panels and other solar products.
There are also other organizations like Earth911, PV Cycle, and Recycle PV that provide an extensive list of branches and vendors who can take care of old solar panel recycling as well.
Why Choose Local Solar for Solar Panel Disposal?
As a professional solar company, Local Solar has provided thousands of California homeowners with the best solar installation and removal services. Our team of certified solar panel experts will make your project quick and easy. Whether you want solar panels removed or installed, we're here to help you out!
Ready to start a project or interested in learning more? Call us at 949-662-3167 or fill out our contact form.