Recycling of PV modules: New Fraunhofer ISE study sheds light on end of life issues

In addition to initial cost, profit and energy output, ease of recycling of solar module materials is set to resonate strongly with PV manufacturers due to its growing impact on the overall cost. In an interview with pv magazine at Intersolar Europe 2017, Michele Vannini, Coveme Business Development Manager, reveals some of the key findings of a new study conducted with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE on end-of-life pathways for photovoltaic backsheets.

As it analyzed different types of backsheets, including fluoropolymer backsheets, applying different approaches to end-of-life processing, such as incineration (burning) or pyrolysis (thermal processing in the absence of air or oxygen), the study showed which types of materials should be avoided and which encouraged.

Calling for greater awareness of the risks of using environmentally dangerous materials, such as fluorine, Coveme also paints a picture how the value for money of a PV investment is being increasingly influenced by the recycling features of the components.