As of the current decade, a huge amount of homeowners have opted for solar energy all across the United States. With that said, there is a great likelihood that these panels will reach the end of their useful life around the same time. Now one must wonder, what happens 20 years down the line if and when all the solar panels complete their life all together? The answers that come to mind are; shortage of panels, supply not meeting the demand, inflated prices, compromised product quality, market instability etc. However, these are the watchouts that are being preempted in advance by the manufacturers and field experts.
Apparently there are two work-arounds of the said concerns. One would be the mass manufacturing of the panels, which is likely to result in the aforementioned problems such as increase in prices, decrease in quality, insufficient supply, poor quality etc. However, there is a more practical solution to the said concern, namely, Panel Recycling. Now even though the United States is still in the formative stages of solar panel recycling techniques, there are still some expert organizations that are actively working on panel recycling. The practice being followed to recycle the panels as of right now is as follows:
|Silicon Panels||Thin-Film Panels|
|The panels are first disassembled and the crystals are taken apart from the aluminium.||The panels are first shredded so that the lamination can be removed.|
|For the intent of reuse, the glass is then put through the thermal treatment. In that process, the plastic residues are evaporated and the glass melted for reuse.||The solids are separated from the liquids with the aid of a rotating screw and the film is removed by the aid of acid and peroxide.|
|The photovoltaic cell modules are then physically taken apart so as to make sure that they are reusable.||The inter-layers of the panels are then removed through intense vibrations. Once the glass is separated, it is then washed.|
|The silicon wafers are then chemically etched away.||The semi-conduction components and then re-utilized|
|The silicon wafers are then taken through the intense thermal treatment so as for them to be reused.||The glass is put through the thermal treatment and is then re-utilized.|
Solar panels offer numerous benefits as they are, however, with the added benefit of recyclability, the benefit increases two-folds. The market can be sustained for a long period of time while the manufacturers can still focus on bringing about new and improved products to the market, offering the best solar energy systems to the benefit of the homeowners as well as the environment.