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Need to Know

Solar Panels Are Tricky to Recycle

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By 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency projects that up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life, and that the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar e-waste annually.

Solar panels are composed of photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight to electricity. When they go to landfills, valuable resources go to waste. And because they are made with toxic materials like lead they can leach out and break down in landfills creating new environmental hazards.

In the EU, producers are required to ensure their solar panels are recycled properly. In Japan, India and Australia, recycling requirements are being created. And in the United States, with the exception of a state law in Washington, the US has no mandates.

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