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Articles Informational Topics Solar Panel

Can Solar Panel Be Recycled- A Detailed Insight

Nowadays, solar panels are used much more frequently than ever for multiple reasons. These factors increase the use of solar panels all around the world.

Including; changes in climate, expensive electricity, especially in developing countries, omission of electricity cables and towers in rural areas even today, and many other factors.

can solar panel be recycled

Companies supplying solar panels often claim that their product will last 25 years.

Many of the solar panels installed at the start of the twenty-first century are near the end of life and need an immediate plan for recycling to at least save the silicon and silver material used on the solar sheets.

This gives birth to a question: can solar panels be recycled?

In 1990, Europe initiated the installment of solar panels, which means they are now capable of recycling them, as many of the installed solar panels installed there had reached the end of life.

However, according to one research, metric tons of solar panels, around 78 million, will reach the end of their life by the year 2050.

No backup or reusable plan is available to date in many countries to stop such great waste, which is a great worry in this rapidly growing world of technology.

Can Solar Panel Be Recycled?

Absolutely! Solar panels can be recycled, as mentioned before as well.

In 1990, many European countries installed solar panels with the capacity of PV models, enabling the solar sheets to catch sunlight and produce electricity.

Such models installed in 1990 had reached their end, as research mentioned that solar panels could have a maximum life of 25 years.

So, it can be concluded from this that European countries have plans to recycle the waste left after the end of solar panels. Solar panels can be recycled and can also be reused.

The US has, to date, not made much progress in recycling solar panels, and they prefer to reuse them after the end of their first life; second life could be given to them with the help of some renovation and restorations.

Moreover, solar panels can be used in different environments, which may change their working capacity or get a brand-new life there.

How Can Solar Panels Be Recycled?

A quick overview of the recycling process of solar panels includes recycling three main components left by the silicon solar sheets: glass used in it, the plastic used in assembling, and aluminum used all over solar panels.

The waste of these three components is the main waste, along with silicon, which can also be recycled and reused later.

The solar frame is made of aluminum and is 100% reusable. However, approximately 95% of the glass can also be recycled.

Moreover, silicon can be used 85% again if the melting process takes place appropriately; plastic can be recycled and reused afterward.

What Are Solar Panels Made Of?

Solar panels are made of silver and silicon sheets and consist of photovoltaic cells (PV) that catch sunlight to produce electricity.

Solar panels include materials such as; glass sheets, aluminum frames, silicon all over, and plastic in their assembling.

They provide sustainable energy to the population, producing energy naturally rather than polluting the environment with the emission of gasses.

However, initially, solar panels require a big investment, but once it’s done, a long-lasting benefit comes your way.

Electricity provided by solar panels costs way less than the electricity produced by gases and other means.

Moreover, by the time a solar panel reaches the end of its life, a plan should be available to you for upgrading to a new solar panel and recycling the existing one simultaneously for greater benefit.

What To Do With Old Solar Panels?

Old solar panels can be used in multiple ways and recycled, with all components separately sold for scrapping or reused elsewhere.

Besides, the solar panel can be reused at some other place after the end of their first life, and a new and changing environment can give a second life to them.

However, with little or big restoration, solar panels can be reused with the same sheets.

In this way, a sustainable energy provider can provide energy naturally for longer than expected.

Is It Worth Recycling Solar Panels?

Solar panels provide naturally produced electricity, an environmentally friendly way of sustainably producing energy.

But once a solar panel completes its life, users start to think about recycling with thought can solar panels be recycled? Or can they be reused if some changes need to be made? Or is it even worth recycling solar panels?

This article’s concerns have been answered in a very detailed way.

However, the worth of recycling can only be seen when the cost of recycling solar panels is compared to the expected benefit it can provide.

So, the worth of recycling depends on the benefit that will occur after recycling.

If you restore it and spend a lot of money on refurbishment, but it is clear from the health state or sheets that they can only work up to one or two mires years, then definitely not worth recycling.

But, if the other option used and components sold out or recycled separately provides more benefit, it is worth recycling.

Process Of Recycling:

The recycling process can be tough and can be done in different ways as not too much research is available for this industry to date.

The recycling industry is still in the emerging phase, but many techniques have also been identified which are carried out to recycle solar panels.

Some steps are involved in the recycling process of solar panels.

Let’s have a look at it.

Aluminum Frame:

Solar panels are made up of aluminum frames.

All over the frame, aluminum is used, which is connected with copper wires; that’s why aluminum is the main waste of expired and old solar panels. It can be further used 100% anywhere required.

Junction Box:

The junction box is a vital component of solar panels, as it is responsible for securing all the electrical connections to the sheet.

Even when the weather is unsuitable or supported, the junction box secures all the electrical work, including Junction box wires that can be recovered and reused later in some other electrical appliance.


Glass is used in the assembling of solar panels; around 95% of glass extracted from expired solar panels can be reused.

Glass is attached with silicon, and to separate both components, technical help is required as it can be done with the help of tools so that extracted material can be reused without much damage separating.

Silicon Plastic:

Silicon cells are heavily used in forming solar sheets; it’s used; either with glass and can be recycled or reused if separated in a very technical way.

Silicon is one of the highest quantity leftovers of expired solar panels.

Other Material:

Batteries, silver, lead, and many other components are part of solar sheets that need recycling, but even after recycling, they are used in small quantities.

Batteries can be saved if attached to some other electrical appliance. Silver which is leftover Leftover silver is used anywhere else later on.

Lead is one of the toxic components of solar panels; it is mostly left to panels from the land. However, it can adversely affect land due to its toxic nature.

Sustainable Use Of Old Solar Panels:

Solar panels are said to have an approximate life of around 25 years, but this doesn’t mean they expire another 25 years in total.

Yes, their work may deteriorate by this time, but they can be reused sustainably. Two better options to use solar panels in sustainable ways are;

Reuse Solar Panels After Some Restoration:

Solar panels can be reused with the same sheets, but after little or more restoration as required, it is not essential to waste the solar panels after the specified period of life.

They can be reused if restoration is planned and done successfully.

Reuse As It Is, But At A Different Place:

However, solar panels can be reused in the same condition but at a different place, which is expected to work productively if it starts to work in a different environment.

As it is an environmentally friendly product, environmental change can probably positively impact solar panels’ workings.


According to the above article’s analysis, it can be concluded that solar panels can be recycled or reused in different ways to gain the best outcome. In this technology-driven world, technology-driven moving towards technology, solar panels are modern world inventions. People using solar panels often get this question in mind, can solar panels be recycled?

This article got all your queries solved, and to be very precise, the answer to this question is yes. Solar panel components such as panel aluminum, lead, glass, copper, plastic, silicone, and batteries can be extracted separately, reused, or sold for scrapping. Moreover, it can be used in different locations and environments for better working. However, another option is to restore another panel and use it again.

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About the author

Anthony Miller

Hello Guys! I am Anthony Miller, a high dynamo, communicative author, and editor of the Renewable Cop, always providing amazing, engaging, informative, unique, highly researched, and verified content based on all sorts of generators. Read more.