Recycling solar panels is a new sustainable innovation

A new recycling solar panels plant opened in Yuma, Arizona, with a innovation to address ‘solar waste’

Most worn-out and broken solar panels are still thrown in landfills. But with the growth of solar energy, the industry is recognizing the surge of a new problem called – solar waste. It is expected that, by 2025, solar waste will accumulate a total of 78 million tons globally, according to Mool Gupta, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Virginia. However, recycling solar panels is still an expensive practice: $30 per panel cost VS $1 to send it to a landfill.

In Arizona, can be found North America’s first utility-scale solar panel recycling plant, We Recycle Solar, a remarkable example of sustainable innovation.

As solar panels age and wear out, recycling initiatives like this one play a crucial role in reducing electronic waste and promoting a circular economy. By giving old solar panels a second life, it helps to:

  • Reduce E-Waste: Solar panels can contain hazardous materials, and improper disposal can harm the environment. Recycling plants ensure that valuable materials are extracted and disposed of safely.
  • Preserve Resources: Recycling solar panels conserves valuable resources like rare metals and glass, reducing the need for new raw materials and the associated environmental impact.
  • Promote Sustainability: Recycling aligns with the principles of sustainability, reducing the carbon footprint of solar panel production and disposal.
  • Economic Opportunities: Recycling facilities create jobs and opportunities for the local economy, contributing to the growth of the renewable energy sector.
recycling solar panels

  • Support the Circular Economy: This initiative aligns with the concept of a circular economy, where materials are reused or repurposed, reducing waste and environmental impact.
  • Extend Product Lifespan: By refurbishing or recycling solar panels, their useful life is extended, ensuring that the energy they generate continues to offset carbon emissions.
  • Initiatives like the one in Yuma, Arizona, demonstrate the importance of responsible and sustainable practices in the renewable energy industry. They contribute to the overall sustainability and longevity of solar power as a clean energy source.

The Yuma, Arizona, facility can process 7,500 panels in a single day or roughly 69 million pounds per year. As of early June, it estimates more than 650,000 tons of carbon dioxide have been avoided. It is reusing about 60% of the panels that come in. The company plans to open another recycling facility alongside a large solar manufacturer in the Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina corridor.

Recycling solar panels helps reduce electronic waste, conserves resources, and minimizes the environmental impact of solar panel disposal. As the solar industry continues to grow, responsible recycling practices are becoming increasingly important to ensure the sustainability of solar energy. Additionally, government regulations and incentives may encourage and support solar panel recycling efforts.

Read on Fast Company

solar power

Universal Kraft  combines different solar energy technologies, in a way to find the best solutions to each area, in land or on water. We develop installations for local energy production, minimizing grid constraints with decentralized solutions.

Solar energy is statistically reliable, effective, easy to install and with a decreasing price curve, becoming one of the cheapest and cleanest energy sources in the world. Our PV installations are developed responsibly as possible, aiming to be integrated into the social and environmental surroundings.

These installations guarantee a stable use of the location for over 25-35 years, and relatively easy to restore the lands to its original state after this period. It is a form of installation with a limited environmental impact. Also, the materials used can be recovered, recycled and transformed into new solar panels or other products.

Latest news

Discover how to drive change to decentralized energy

Find more about our solutions


Have access to the full Universal Kraft Paper
and other renewable energy updates.

Download Ebook form
Privacy Policy

Before you leave...

Subscribe to our newsletter
and stay updated on the latest renewable energy developments
pop up newsletter
Privacy Policy

Request a Quote

We take great pride in everything that we do, control over products allows us to ensure our customers receive the best quality service.

Request a Quote
Privacy Policy