How Infinite Energy recycles our solar panels
There has been a lot said in the news recently about solar panel recycling, particularly with the Federal Government announcing a deadline for a national solar recycling scheme. While there are many issues involved with the proposed national scheme deadline which we will not go into in this blog, at Infinite Energy we are proud to say that as part of our efforts to operate as sustainably as possible, we have started a program to recycle 100% of the solar panels we remove from roofs.
Why do solar panels need to be recycled?
Solar panels typically have a lifespan of up to 35 years, with most high-quality solar panels having warranties that cover them for 25 years. So why are solar panels ending up in landfill or needing to be recycled in the first place? There are many reasons that solar panels may have reached the end of their lifespan, including:
- Poor solar panel quality
Cheaper and poorly made solar panels will often not last past the 10-year mark and will need to be replaced much more quickly than higher-quality solar panels.
Many older solar systems no longer suit the electricity requirements of their owner. We have seen a steady increase in solar power system replacement requests recently, particularly when the premium feed-in tariff ended and many past customers upgrade their outdated, 2kW or 3kW systems to new and larger 6.66kW systems that more accurately matched their electricity needs.
Sometimes due to no fault of their own, solar panels become damaged. The most common reasons for this are storm damage, damage from falling trees or hail damage. When this happens, the easiest solution is to simply replace the affected panels. Depending on your solar energy system set-up and the age of your system, this may mean all of your panels need to be replaced.
Why should we recycle solar panels?
Recycling solar panels is a particularly important part of our sustainability efforts since recycling solar panels can unlock raw materials and components that can be broken down and reused or sold. In a standard solar panel, the materials that are typically recoverable through recycling and processing include glass (74%), aluminium (10%), silicon (3%), copper (1%) and smaller amounts of silver, tin and lead. Solar panels also contain small amounts of rare elements like tellurium and indium, making their re-use essential.
How does Infinite Energy recycle solar panels?
Infinite Energy recycles the solar panels from all upgraded and retired solar power systems that we work on with Cyber Recycling, an Australian company that specialises in recycling e-waste. They process the different solar components and break them down into their individual materials for reuse. They have a site located in Perth, where the majority of our residential solar installations are, which helps us to reduce the carbon footprint that results in the transport of the old solar panels to the recycling facility.
Where else can you recycle solar panels?
There are very limited resources available for solar companies who wish to recycle their old solar panel; companies like South Australia’s Reclaim PV and Victoria’s Lotus Energy have emerged in order to help tackle this lack of resources and research and funding into solar panel recycling is set to increase over the next decade as awareness of the issue grows.
How you can help
One way that you can reduce the amount of waste that results from your solar power system installation, is to ensure that you choose only premium solar power products from reputable manufacturers, so you can ensure that your solar energy system will last for its full lifespan.
To find out more about the range of solar power products we use at Infinite Energy, or to get a quote to switch to solar in your home, get in touch with us on 1300 074 669 or arrange an obligation-free quote.