Waste treatment of PV modules
bifa participated in the first forecast worldwide on the quantity of waste produced by PV modules (up to 2050). The study was published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Photovoltaics Programme (PVPS) of the International Energy Agency (IEA) at the European PV Conference in Munich.
The report shows that by recycling or reusing solar PV modules at the end of their roughly 30-year life, a large stock of raw materials and other valuable components can be tapped into. According to estimates, the quantity of waste produced, mainly consisting of glass, could reach up to 78 million tonnes by 2050. If these are returned to the economy as far as possible by recycling, the value of the re-used materials could be well above 15 billion US dollars by 2050, whereby the small silver content in particular represents a significant value. This potential material supply would be sufficient for the production of 2 billion new PV modules (equal to a new generation capacity of 630 GW); alternatively, it can of cause also be resold on the worldwide raw material markets. This increases the security of the future offer of PV or other raw material-dependent products.
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Dr. Karsten Wambach