UP Initiaive and PV Module Recycling

UP Initiative and PV Module Recycling

PV Magazine has a new agenda: the UP initiative. Through the UP initiative, PV Magazine plans to discuss issues of sustainability in the PV world. #UPrising

UP Initiative and PV Module Recycling

PV Magazine has a new agenda: the UP initiative. Through the UP initiative, PV Magazine plans to discuss issues of sustainability in the PV world. #UPrising

Merve Özcaner - SEE Team

September 21, 2020

Pv magazine, which reports on the latest international developments in solar energy and its various aspects, has a new set of topics via which they plan to discuss issues of sustainability in the PV world.

Up Initiative was launched in May 2019. Image by PV Magazine

The UP initiative was launched in May 2019 to stir up action in both solar and storage industries by using "print and digital articles, webinars and round tables –to identify and discuss sustainability issues; to call out greenwashing, and to effect concrete action, in the form of activism/advocacy" (Up initiative par. 2).

You can reach the whole scope of the sustainability topics in the UP initiative here: https://www.pv-magazine.com/features/pv-magazine-up-initiative/

In this article, however, we will particularly mention the topic of 2020 fourth quarter:

PV module recycling

Most solar modules that were deployed decades ago are projected to come to the end of their useful life in a decade or two (some already in 'retirement'). So, the issue for solar module waste gains more importance in international arenas.

In their most recent newsletter (16 September 2020), PV magazine remarks that by turning the attention to PV module recycling, they aim to address questions like "how can the tension between long lifetimes of up to 30 years and beyond, and economic viability, be addressed? And what is happening in the field of recycling technology? Will it ever be possible to extract the most valuable materials from today's modules?"

There is a global lack of regulations and legal framework about the handling of the obsolete PV modules. Right now, only in the EU, there is a clear roadmap to support PV module recycling. However, countries like Japan, India, Australia, and the United States have begun to address this issue too.

PV magazine's UP initiative explores the following issues about the recycling of PV modules:

•           An overview of current recycling processes in operation,

•           The economics of recycling from the perspective of Bloomberg NEF,

•           A look at the projects and regulations emerging in the United States,

•           Future recycling technologies,

•           An update on the EU policy landscape.

You can read the September issue article where Becky Beetz dives into deeper into the PV module recycling issue. You can reach the article by following this link: https://www.pv-magazine.com/magazine-archive/waste-not-want-not/

The infographic shows the PV module recycling process. Image by: Greenmatch.co.uk

As the Solar Energy Engineering department, we are highly interested in this topic. So, we had interviewed We Recycle Solar's founder a couple of months ago. We Recycle Solar is a U.S. based company – one of the few in this field in the U.S, that works to recycle PV modules. They also try to make a political difference in the handling of this topic. For more insights, you can read the interview here: https://www.study-solar.com/blog-article/we-recycle-solar-a-pioneer-recycling-company-in-solar-energy-industry.

Soon, we aim to bring our students' attention to the recycling of solar PV modules and hope to train them in this issue too. This issue should be tackled before it turns into a problem and thus reinforces some anti-renewable energy arguments that the scientists and solar industry might face.

Disclaimer: We merely share PV Magazine's exciting initiative with our dear readers and students. In no way, we take credit for their work.


"PV Magazine UP initiative", https://www.pv-magazine.com/features/pv-magazine-up-initiative/ Accessed on 18. Sept. 2020.

Beetz, Becky. "Waste Not, Want Not", Issue: 09-2020. Published on: September 8, 2020. https://www.pv-magazine.com/magazine-archive/waste-not-want-not/ Accessed on 18 Sept. 2020.

Newsletter e-mail by PV Magazine Group. "Waste Not, Want Not: UP sustainability initiative focuses on PV module recycling in Q4". Received by: Carolina Garcia on Wed, 16 Sep 2020.

Further reading: