Wednesday, December 18, 2013

UK ratifies new waste regulations on PV recycling

Someone asked if solar PV is really green, considering the amount of energy to manufacture the panels and the amount of effort required for the disposal of damaged/old ones. It's a good question but that's for the analysts to work it out.

While we let our self get carried away by the NKEA of achieving certain commendable target of Renewable Energy in the national energy generation mix, let's not forget about the electrical and electronic waste we are bound to be creating.

Broken and damaged PV panels - how are we going to dispose them of?

U.K. to introduce new regulations on PV recycling from January 1, 2014

The British government will introduce its interpretation of the European Union’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive for the disposal of PV modules ahead of schedule on January 1, 2014, in a move that has been applauded by pan-European recycling organization PV Cycle.

The U.K. has become the first EU member state to officially ratify its own national legislation on the laws, weeks in advance of the official February 14 deadline next year.

The WEEE Directive was updated in August 2012 to incorporate PV modules, with the industry given an 18-month transition period within which all 27 EU governments must incorporate new guidelines on PV waste into their national law.

According to the new directive, all PV modules that have reached their end-of-life (either because their warranty has expired or they have been damaged) must be disposed of in the correct manner. PV Cycle, with local presence in a number of European countries, is an organization that helps coordinate the take back and waste disposal of PV modules, managing a number of collection points across Europe and offering guidance on how PV producers can comply with the law and recycle their products accordingly.

The essence of the regulations

For the U.K. PV market, the new regulations require all importers of PV panels into the U.K. to register with a Product Compliance Scheme, which takes effect from January 1, 2014.

The scheme asks that all producers take full financial responsibility of the waste disposal of the PV panels they supply to the market, in addition to reporting all important data, such as numbers supplied and locations distributed to.

TheGreenMechanics: That's in Europe. They have until February next year to update their regulations to include PV in the waste management.

I'm not sure if we have ours yet. What is clear is that we have the relevant act for proper disposal of e-waste (electonic waste) but nothing's specific on photovoltaic panels.

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