Solar Panel Recycling Activities Surge in U.S. to Manage End-of-Life Solar Panels
An increased number of end-of-life solar panels are creating a demand for recycling activities in the U.S. Moreover, analysts of Transparency Market Research (TMR) opine that the U.S. is anticipated to account for the highest number of end-of-life solar panels in the upcoming decades after China. Hence, companies in the solar panel recycling market are focusing on value-grab opportunities in the U.S. As such, the market is estimated to reach a value of ~US$ 600 Mn by the end of 2027.
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Repurposing Silicon-based PV Cells Creates Revenue Opportunities in Battery Production
Researchers are exploring new ways to extract silicon from discarded solar panels to repurpose it into Nano-silicon for batteries in the solar panel recycling market. For instance, in October 2019, researchers at the Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials, Australia, revealed that they are unearthing new ways to obtain silicon from waste solar panels by Nano-sizing it for use in lithium-ion batteries. Such innovations are boosting the recycling of silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) cells. This explains why silicon-based products are estimated to dictate the highest revenue among all products in the market for solar panel recycling. Hence, companies in the solar panel recycling market should collaborate with material scientists to repurpose discarded solar cells.
Though silicon semiconductors have a relatively small amount of silicon in solar cells, the material’s value is extremely high. Hence, companies in the solar panel recycling market are increasing efforts to extract silicon from PV cells to prevent the high-value material from going to landfills.
Solar Panel Recycling Market: Overview
Photovoltaic (PV) technology is one of the highly promising technologies for improving energy security and mitigating climate change. All technologies sooner or later enter their end-of-life stage resulting in waste generation.
Solar panels have a lifespan of 20 years to 25 years; they need to be replaced after that. Photovoltaic modules carry heavy metal. Hence, they cannot be dumped in landfills. Thus, the solar panel recycling market offers significant potential.
Solar panel waste is an increasing concern, as it contains toxic materials that can leach into the soil causing issues with drinking water. Solar panel recycling can reduce waste generation. The recycled material can then be used for the production of new panels.
Solar panel can be dismantled into different components and can be recycled with the help of various processes such as mechanical, thermal, chemical, laser, and combination. Thus, rise in solid waste is anticipated to boost the solar panel recycling market.
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Rise in Demand for Electricity to Provide Opportunities to Solar Panel Recycling Market
Currently, demand for renewable energy has been increasing in the global power generation mix due to the rise in focus on the impact of climate change and maintenance of fossil fuel sustainability. The share of renewable energy sources (including hydropower) in the global power generation mix rose by 26% in 2018 over that in 2000.
Growth in global population, expansion in the industrial sector, and rise in infrastructure development activities are boosting the demand for electricity
Rapid growth in the construction sector is projected to create opportunities for companies to invest in the building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) industry in the near future
According to the International Energy Outlook 2017, total global energy consumption is expected to increase by 28% from 575 quadrillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) in 2015 to 736 quadrillion BTUs in 2040
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