Renewable Energy Waste Removal: Solar Energy

How to Deal With Removing Solar Energy Waste

In the UK, over 1 million solar panels have been installed with a large amount of these on family homes. They help to reduce our carbon footprint as well as our energy bill, so it’s no wonder why so many people are opting for this renewable energy source.

However, whilst the energy itself is renewable, the solar panels only have a lifespan of up to 30 years. This means that many of us will have to replace them at least once in our lifetime as homeowners. These are large pieces of kit, so finding the right way to dispose of them is paramount while not causing a negative impact on the environment in the process.

Different Types of Solar Panels

There are two main types of solar panel, each coming with its own benefits and differences - silicon-based and thin-film based. When exploring the possibility of having solar panels installed on your home or business, it is important to get as much information as possible about your choices, but here’s just a short overview of the two types of solar panel available:

Silicon-Based Solar Panels

These are often called the first generation of solar panels because it was one of the initial models to be widely distributed to the public. When they were first introduced, they were very expensive due to the high cost of silicon and pricey purification process. However, over the years the price has dropped to make them a more affordable choice when it comes to harnessing solar power.

Thin-Film Based Solar Panels

These panels are made up of solar cells that have lots of thin layers that absorb the light, over 300 times smaller than that of the silicon-based alternative. Because of this, and their narrow design, they are very light but still durable. Installation costs are often lower as well, due to the light nature of the material and ease of handling.

Recycling Solar Panels

The good news about solar panels is that they can be recycled - however, depending on which type of panel you choose, the methods will be different. If you have a silicon-based solar panel, you will need to start by disassembling the whole unit and recycling the glass (95% is able to be reused). The external metal parts will then be used to make new solar panels, while the rest of the unit goes through thermal treatment.

Thin-film based solar panels have a more in-depth recycling process. First, they are put through a shredder and reduced to pieces no bigger than 5mm before the liquid and solid waste is separated. These different materials are then reused for further manufacturing.

When it is time to get rid of your old solar panels, it is best to call in a professional team to remove this waste. This way, you know they will be taken to a facility that is equipped with disposing of them and will be recycled in a way that is not detrimental to the environment.