With solar panels and alternative energy growing more popular, e-scrap recycling organizations are preparing to handle more of the units at their end of life.
To help guide the process, Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) released a draft of solar panel recycling requirements under its R2v3 standard.
The draft defines photovoltaic (PV) modules, adds solar cells to the Focus Materials definition section of the standard, updates the R2 Equipment Categorization to include a level of function for PV modules and creates “Appendix G,” which covers how to incorporate the new material into the current standard.
SERI noted that the scope of the solar panels is broad, because it could include everything from modules that are more than 20 years old to modules that still have useful life.
In its April newsletter, SERI noted that one of the objectives of the R2 Standard is “to reflect the evolution of our industry and the constantly advancing stream of technology.”
“One important thing we’ve learned from a decade-plus of working toward electronics sustainability is that the best time to address a problem is before you have a problem,” the newsletter noted. “Where the R2 Standard was created to try to deal with an existing e-waste challenge that was only growing, PV modules present an opportunity to proactively address a waste stream before it becomes a global problem.”
After over two years of work on the update, the R2 Technical Advisory Committee is now taking public comment on it through June 12. If the draft is substantively modified in response to the comments, it will be rereleased for a new comment round.
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