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Daox 04-26-12 01:02 PM

Where do solar panels go when they die?
Where do solar panels go when they die? Its an interesting question and one I've never heard brought up. They last so long that I've never even thought about it. However, there are apparently a few companies that will take the PV panels and recycle or reuse the materials.

Where Do Solar Panels Go When They Die? | Crisp Green

lampardtroy 05-03-12 05:07 AM

Exactly this the only option has that companies to recycle them and reuse them. Apart from that when they are dead mostly they are waste and we have through them in dustbin but it is the best option I heard that some solar companies bought them whenever they are dead.

Ryland 05-03-12 11:20 AM

The only dead solar panels I've ever seen have been thin film solar panels, those that are touted as being low cost, and I've seen dead panels that had physical damage for a poorly designed mounting system, but the rest of the should last well past the 2015 figure they gave, I was thinking they should last well in to 2050.

solarrevolve 05-07-14 04:16 AM

The materials of dead solar panels can be recycled into useful products. It is possible, through innovative technologies still being developed, that 90 percent of the material recovered from solar panels can be recycled into useful products. Solar panels comprise metals and glass, which, if they were separated and captured, could be reused in the manufacture of other products. Silicon is the main material used in manufacturing solar panels and plays the role of a semiconductor that facilitates the absorption and conversion of sunlight into electricity. Silicon is also the most valuable component of each solar panel which can be recycled in order to use it in new solar panels.

Ryland 05-07-14 08:53 AM

I am confident that silicone is not the most valuable part of a dead solar panel, it is also a very small part of it! even in a new panel the aluminium frame is a costly part and the glass that protects it is as well, the aluminium has the highest scrap value of any part.
But in 50+ years when this becomes an issue maybe we'll find out.

NiHaoMike 05-07-14 09:07 AM

You could sell broken panels for scrap value. Some DIYer will probably buy it and fix it.

where2 05-08-14 12:09 PM

I have seen the mountain where they go to die...I'm still to going to mention which mountain I was on when I saw several discarded solar panels. They appeared to have been damaged by ice or falling tree limbs or both. I believe their remote location was their protection in their discarded state. I still want to go back some day with a volt meter and see if what my solar instructor said was true: they really never stop producing power.

Ryland 05-09-14 11:55 PM


Originally Posted by where2 (Post 38146)
They appeared to have been damaged by ice or falling tree limbs or both.

Yep, it takes something like a tree or bullet to kill a panel, if your panels are close enough to a tree to have it fall on it then it will most likely be close enough to that tree to be shaded.
Installs like that should be avoided.

GageTyler13 05-13-14 12:16 PM

Solar products are designed to be very durable (around 25 years), but depending on weather conditions or unforeseeable events, some will eventually need to be replaced. Solar panels and other pieces contain valuable materials that can be recovered and reused in either new PV modules or other new products.

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