Who Pays The Bill
It will almost certainly fall to regulators to decide who will bear the cleanup costs. As waste from the first wave of early replacements piles up in the next few years, the U.S. government starting with the states, but surely escalating to the federal level will introduce solar panel recycling legislation. Conceivably, future regulations in the U.S. will follow the model of the European Unions WEEE Directive, a legal framework for the recycling and disposal of electronic waste throughout EU member states. The U.S. states that have enacted electronics-recycling legislation have mostly cleaved to the WEEE model. In the EU, recycling responsibilities for past waste have been apportioned to manufacturers based on current market share.
A first step to forestalling disaster may be for solar panel producers to start lobbying for similar legislation in the United States immediately, instead of waiting for solar panels to start clogging landfills. In our experience drafting and implementing the revision of the original WEEE Directive in the late 2000s, we found one of the biggest challenges in those early years was assigning responsibility for the vast amount of accumulated waste generated by companies no longer in the electronics business .
Recyclingsolar Panels In Europe
Europe offers the best model of the recycling of solarpanels through the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive . The WEEE directive, along with the Restriction of HazardousSubstances Directive became law in February 2003.
The WEEE Directive set collection, recovery, andrecycling targets for all kinds of electrical goods, including solar panels. Italso sets restrictions on European manufacturers of solar panels for not onlycreating solar panels but also on what happens to them when they have outlivedtheir usefulness.
To be sure, the Europeans have moved far ahead indealing with hazardous waste like solar panels and are moving ahead with plansto handle the enormous influx of the use and disposal of them in thefuture.
What About Solar Battery Recycling
Solar batteries can also be recycled in Australia through the use of waste management centres and designated recycling plants. Solar batteries should be recycled as they contain lithium-ion, which can severely affect the carbon emissions in the atmosphere if left in landfills. The CSIRO predicts that Australia will have 100,000 tonnes of lithium-ion battery waste by 2036 if the percentage of people who recycle their solar batteries currently at two per cent doesnt increase.
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Disposal Of Solar Panels
From a regulatory aspect, PV panel waste still falls under the general waste classification. A sole exception exists at EU-level, where PV panels are defined as e-waste in the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. The PV panel waste management is thus regulated by this directive, additionally to other legal frameworks.
The solar cells manufacturers are bound by law to fulfil specific legal requirements and recycling standards in order to make sure that solar panels do not become a burden to the environment. That is when technologies to recycle solar panels started emerging.
producers collaborated with governmental institutions and have come up with a few ways to tackle solar waste.
Solar Panelsmanufactured With Greener And Safer Materials
Current silicon-based solar panels that make up 80% ofthe global market rely on materials that post a threat to humanity. To makesolar panels greener, manufacturers have begun experimenting with changingtheir productâs components to include ones that are non-toxic.
Even better, many manufacturers of solar panels areresolving the disposal problem by making the components of their productrecyclable themselves independent of the recyclability of other parts of thesolar panel. This means they are focusing on each component one at a time toincrease its ability to be recycled, and eventually, the entire panel will befully recyclable.
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Compare Solar Energy Plans
These are dedicated solar deals offered by some electricity retailers that usually feature a higher feed-in tariff than standard plans in market. Always check the fine print before signing up.
Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.
Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.
Solar Panel Recycling Process
Our Solar Team at Retrofit Environmental collects and transports discarded solar panels to a processing facility. We partner with an ISO 14001 and SEIA approved solar module recycler with no-landfill processing.
Solar modules are evaluated and marked for recycling as needed. Modules are grouped by size and type to simplify the next step in the recycling process.
Connection wires, junction boxes and additional components are removed from the solar panel. The module frame is removed using a machine developed for this process.
With the frame and j-box removed from the solar panel, the remaining laminate is shredded. This step makes the materials easier to handle, leaving pieces about the size of your hand.
The shredded laminate goes through a grinding process. This further reduces the size of the material. Wire and cell material are separated from the glass and encapsulant.
After the first grind, the material is mechanically sorted by size and some of it is ground again to achieve uniform granules. Encapsulant and polymer backsheet material is lighter than glass, allowing for mechanical separation.
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Option : Pay For The Panels To Be Disposed Of As E
You can pay to have your solar panels properly disposed of as electronic waste or e-waste, as the cool kids call it these days. If you turn up at your local e-waste disposal centre with just a few panels they may charge a flat fee for each, which could be $20. Alternatively, they may charge by weight and have you drive over a weighbridge. As a typical charge is $750 or more a tonne expect to pay around $14 to $20 per standard sized panel.
After youve paid for your solar panels to be properly disposed of as e-waste they still wont be recycled. Not anytime soon at least. Instead the aluminium frames and junction boxes will be ripped off and the panels stacked in temporary storage. But, on the bright side, someone will probably think really hard about recycling them in the future.
Remember kids, smoking will turn your CPU to e-waste.
What Happens When Birds Nest Under Solar Panels
Pigeons and birds love to nest in dark, sheltered and warm places. This is why your solar panels are the perfect nesting place for them! When birds set up a bird nest under solar panels, they can quickly become a nuisance by leaving feathers and excrement all over your panels. This will not only reduce your solar panel efficiency, but it can also burn the solar cells out. They will also damage the wiring around your solar panels, which can lead to some expensive repairs. One of the worst they are bound to do is rapidly breed, which can turn a manageable situation into a pest infestation!
Once a bird nest under solar panels happens, its very difficult to get rid of. Sure, you can shoo them away, and even install bird spikes near your solar panels, but they wont be much help. Birds can bend and break plastic spikes and before you know it, have their own personal entrance underneath your solar panels. Birds nesting under solar panels often make it their home, and will breed rapidly. If ignored, the problem gets exponentially worse.
Birds and Pigeons can multiply their flock by several magnitudes in a matter of weeks. In order to protect solar panels from pigeons, you need the right tools and materials, such as our patented pigeon proofed mesh! You also need qualified and trained professionals, and luckily for you, we are the best and number one rated pigeon proofing business!
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How To Dispose Of Your Solar Panels
Occasionally, solar installers will dispose of the old solar panels on your behalf when they install a new one. Most of the time, however, disposing the old solar system will be the responsibility of the customer. While recycling is obviously a key way of disposing old solar panels, there are a few other ways to dispose of them that can avoid landfills.
How To Recycle Solar Panels
Solar panels are made up of glass, metal, and plastic all of which can be used again once the panel has reached its end of life. Recycling solar panels starts with separating and isolating all the constituent components, including the special photovoltaic panel glass, aluminum frame, connection box, and connection cables.
The process begins by removing the aluminum frame and the electric modules and cables from the panel glass. The glass is then fed into a machine that cuts the panel into small pieces that are ground and sifted to remove any metal. An optical sorting system ensures that only pure glass remains at the end of the process.
Once recovered, all the materials can be sent to various industrial sectors:
- Glass is used to create new glass
- Aluminum frame is sent to an aluminum manufacturing plant
- Plastics are used as fuel in cement production
- Silicon wafers can be melted and used by specialty recycling companies
- Cables and connectors are sold as copper scrap to be recycled
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The Ultimate Green Solar Panel
Currently, the manufacture of the components of solarpanels and the panels themselves require fossil fuels in the manufacturingprocess. Research is being done to examine greener ways to produce solar panelsso that in the future, even the making of a solar panel will be green.
For now, all homeowners and businesspersons can do is touse the products available today. By doing so, they can significantly reduce their carbonfootprint to help not just the planet, but also give those living upon it healthierand longer lives.
The ultimate objective of using solar panels is toutilize the sun to create totally green energy, and that goal is just aroundthe corner.
Thecost Of Using Solar Panels For Energy
The cost of installing a solar panel system isnât forthe faint of heart of the low-income homeowner. The average homeowner will pay$20,000 for the installation of solar panels on a 1,500 square foot home.Larger homes or businesses cost even more and can range up into the $30-40krange after tax credits.
The excessive cost one incurs when installing a solarpanel system isnât due to the prohibitive cost of solar panels, which arerelatively cheap, it is the cost of labor that makes using solar panels forenergy prohibitive to most homeowners and small businesses.
When choosing a solar panel system, one must take intoconsideration the wattage that is needed. The more watts a home or businessrequires, the higher the cost.
To be sure, there are tax benefits that help hold downthe cost of solar panels and their installation. The federal government of theUnited States now offers the investment tax credit that allows those whochoose to go green to claim credits and receive a savings of nearly $9,000, andthis tax credit extends to both residential and commercial systems.
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How Do You Get Rid Of Pigeons Under Solar Panels
We have a lot of solar panels in the Phoenix AZ area. Hence, we have a lot of pigeons under solar panels in the Phoenix AZ area, too. The solar boom has been good for just about everyone in the solar industry over the past 10 years or so. It’s also been really good for our feral pigeon population, which has just boomed here in the valley.
If you think like a pigeons for a minute, it makes a lot of sense. Pigeons are birds, after all, and birds like high places. Like roofs. And that just so happens to be where we have almost all of our solar panels installed. So it’s really the perfect storm, so to speak, for pigeons everywhere. Solar panels provide shade and protection from the elements and from predators. And there’s plenty of space under most solar panel arrays to raise a big, happy family.
Of course, pigeons poop constantly – no matter where they are. Including under your panels and on them when they roost, too. And since pigeon poop is so acidic, it eventually damages anything teat it is allowed to collect on. That certainly includes both the panels and the roof itself. The longer pigeons are allowed to nest under the panels – or anywhere on the roof – the more damage their feces causes.
So, how do we get rid of pigeons under solar panels? Here’s how:
If you see or hear pigeons on your roof you should really get rid of them asap. Not only will that prevent damages but it’s almost always cheaper to get it done sooner rather than later.
Relocate A Solar Panels System From One House To Another
If you are moving away, some leasing companies have the option to relocate a system from one house to another. Before starting this process, you should make sure the new rooftop is in good enough condition to safely support a rooftop solar system. Many solar leases have a provision for relocating a system from one home to another plus an additional cost to remove and reinstall the solar system. Keep in mind that you will need the approval of your utility company, local government commission or homeowners association in order to install a solar system on a new rooftop.
All in all, if you are planning on selling the house soon, consider a buyout first. If you have the possibility of an early buyout, you can pay for the remainder of your lease and own the system yourself. Solar panels that are fully owned add up to $10,000 to the value of your house. This can sometimes outweigh the cost of the buyout. If the buyout amount is significantly less expensive than monthly payments through the lease period, it is a financially reasonable option to consider.
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What Do We Do
Australia needs clear guidelines at a national level on collecting, transporting, stockpiling and disposing solar panels. A lack of clear policy hampers state, territory and local governments from managing this waste effectively.
The federal government has also touted product stewardship as a potential solution. This is where those involved in producing, selling, using and disposing products share the responsibility to reduce their environmental impact.
But this model wouldnt effectively service regional and remote areas, as collecting and transporting goods from remote locations comes at a very high financial and environmental cost.
Its worth noting some panels do undergo a kind of second life. Theres a unique demand for secondhand panels from people who cant afford new systems, those looking to live off-grid, small organisations keen to reduce energy bills, and mobile home and caravan owners.
But with a number of massive solar farms proposed across northern Australia, its more important than ever to explore new strategies to manage removed solar panels, with clear policies and creative solutions.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Robin Gregory from Regional Development Australia, Northern Territory to this article.
Does Bird Poop Affect Solar Panels
Nuisance birds like jackdaws can cause large amounts of damage to any structures in which they choose to make their nests largely through pecking, scratching, and the staining residue of their poop.
Once birds have fully gained access underneath a solar panel, they can cause fires by suffocating the airflow of the wiring that is found underneath solar panels where they will likely choose to make their nest.
But perhaps worst of all is the corroding effect that their poop can cause.
Bird poop hardens as it dries, and this clump of excrement is almost always liquidy and easily spread all over any surface that it hits.
When a bird poops all over the top of a solar panel, this can affect the UV absorption rate at which the panel absorbs the rays of the sun that then transfers into energy through the wiring.
Bird poop may or may not void a warranty that comes with solar panel structures, so this can be another major cause of concern.
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Turning Wind Blades Into Cement
The idea of turning blades into cement comes from Germany, where the multinational building materials giant LafargeHolcim has been recycling the wind turbine components since the mid-2000s through a business unit called Geocycle.
Last July, the concept also gained the backing of WindEurope, the European Chemical Industry Council, Cefic, and the European Composites Industry Association. The bodies joined forces to help recycle the 2.5 million tons of composite material tied up in European wind turbine blades.
Composite materials are being recycled today at commercial scale through cement co-processing, where the cement raw materials are being partially replaced by the glass fibers and fillers in the composite, and the organic fraction replaces coal as a fuel, states a Cefic press note.
Nor is cement production the only recycling option for end-of-life blades.
In January of last year, Bothell, Washington-based Global Fiberglass Solutions announced the opening of a recycling plant in Sweetwater, Texas to turn turbine blades into thermoplastic fiberglass pellets for use in injection molding and extrusion manufacturing processes.
Additionally, said Hobson at ACORE: You have leading companies like Vestas that have come out with plans to eliminate non-recyclable waste from the manufacturing, operation and decommissioning of their wind turbines by 2040.