PV recycling requirements and standardisation for the CSA Group
bifa undertook a study for the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) on the generation of waste from photovoltaic modules in North America. Apart from drawing up an overview of existing PV waste provisions and such inpreperation for the USA and Canada, the initiatives of the federal states were also examined.
There are currently no federal laws specifically tailored to, as the amount of waste generated by the PV modules mainly based on crystalline silicon is currently still small.
In individual states of the USA, for example, Washington, New York, California and others, however, initial regulations have already come into force or are in preparation. In the study, the individual regulations and standards are compared with the laws in the European Union and in particular the Directives for electronic waste (WEEE) and corresponding regulations and standards. As electrical equipment, since 2012, in Europe the waste from PV modules is subject to a recycling obligation.
In the USA there is already a range of recyclers, many of which currently remove the frames and cables of the modules and then deposit the remaining quantities on suitable landfill sites.
With the help of a statistical life model after Weibull, forecasts for the potential waste generation up to the year 2030 were produced for the USA and Canada on the basis of the existing and expected development of PV systems.
With the adoption of the new NSF ANSI 457-2017 standard on Sustainable Leadership Standard for Photovoltaic Modules, an important international basis was laid for extended producer responsibility.
Further use of used PV modules, following a comprehensive quality and safety check, is a potential way of reducing the quantities of waste. An important requirement is the creation of common international rules and standards for collecting statistical data, the trade, use and disposal of PV modules. The implementation will be an important task in the coming years.
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Dr. Karsten Wambach