End-of-life management of solar PV waste in India


From pv magazine India

A new study on end-of-life (EOL) solar PV waste management in India makes PV manufacturers accountable for recycling and recovering the materials at the end-of-life (EOL) stage.

The study proposes an “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) regulatory framework for efficient management of India’s EOL solar PV modules. The EPR concept, as practiced in Europe, makes producers responsible for developing an efficient takeback system.

The study was done by Suresh Jain and Tanya Sharma, both from the Indian Institute of Technology Tirupati. They worked with Anil Kumar Gupta from the National Institute of Disaster Management. They said that around 2.95 billion tons of solar power material (including PVs and balance-of-systems) is expected to enter India’s electronic-waste stream by 2047. 

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At present, solar power waste management is a neglected sector in India and follows an unregularized, unscientific and informal approach. Solar waste is currently regarded as general electronic waste under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. There is no mention of solar PV as a potential waste stream in the e-waste rules. And the presence of an informal and illegal sector to manage e-waste in India hampers circularity and requires regulation.  There is therefore significant scope for the development of a policy approach to manage this emerging waste stream.

The proposed framework provides for a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder approach for solar PV waste management by advocating the constitution of two committees: a technical and regulatory committee and an executive management committee. The technical and regulatory committee would be responsible for developing policies to regulate the EOL management of solar PV waste. 

The management committee would work under the technical and regulatory committee on the execution of EPR. It would be responsible for managing solar PV panels that reach the EOL stage. It would also be accountable for repurchasing solar PV modules and developing transport systems between end-users and EOL management units.

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