Last week, the Department of Energy announced an action plan aimed at assisting the US in establishing a comprehensive system for processing and recycling Solar Panels, which according to some assessments might account for a tenth of all electronic trash in the coming decades.
The Solar Energy Technologies Office has set a new goal of lowering the cost of Solar Panels recycling to around $3 per panel by 2030, a level that would make the technique economically viable for the first time. This follows an earlier DOE target to reduce the cost of solar power by half by the end of the decade.
To meet the goal, the solar office wants to close a knowledge gap on what happens to Solar Panels once they’ve served their purpose. But one thing is certain for the solar industry: figuring out how to recycle outdated panels — or repurpose pieces like the precious metals commonly found in them — is a looming hurdle.