Solar panels and accessories have been classified under the e-waste category by the EU parliament. In recent years, the electronics industry had gained prominence in creating an endless stream of disposable products that make their way at life’s end to developing countries spilling contaminants into their water and air.
Solar modules contain some of the potentially dangerous materials, including silicon tetrachloride, cadmium, selenium, and sulfur hexafluoride – a potent greenhouse gas.
So, as solar moves from the fringe to the mainstream, insiders and watchdog groups are beginning to talk about producer responsibility and recycling in an attempt to sidestep the pitfalls of electronic waste and retain the industry’s green credibility.
Recycling measures are to be undergone every now and then to put the situation under control. Some materials in solar modules such as silicon and rare metals could be more valuable in the future, providing an additional incentive to recycle.
Material price spikes have caused industry turmoil in recent years. For example, polysilicon shot to $400 per kilogram between 2006 and 2008. It is now down around $55.
Thus we assume the recycling method would have to pick up pace due to the economical yield it provides, along with the moral ethics it illustrates.