DOE Releases Action Plan For Photovoltaic Systems End-Of-Life Management
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released an action plan to enable the safe and responsible handling of photovoltaic (PV) end-of-life (EOL) materials. The activities outlined in the plan will reduce the environmental impact of solar energy while supporting the Biden Administration’s goal to decarbonize the electricity grid by 2035.
As solar deployment rapidly increases, more PV components will reach the end of their useful life and enter the waste stream. Although 95% of a PV module is recyclable, the current economics of EOL handling are unfavorable to recycling. The cost to recycle PV modules is significantly higher than the landfill fee. Establishing safe, responsible, and economic EOL practices will support greater deployment of solar energy.
“As we accelerate deployment of photovoltaic systems, we must also recognize the pressing need to address end-of-life for the materials in a sustainable way,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. “We are committed to ensuring that the recovery, reuse, recycling, and disposal of these systems and their components are accessible, low-cost and have minimal environmental impact.”