If you have invested in solar energy on Maui, then you probably did so because you care about protecting the environment as well as saving on monthly energy bills. But have you ever wondered what to do with your solar panels when they have reached the end of their life? In general, solar panels are going to last for about 30 years. As more people convert their energy to solar, the silicon solar panels have the ability to pile once they’ve reached the end of their lifecycle. The good news is that there are ways to recycle solar panels.
Understanding What Parts of Solar Panels Can Be Recycled
First, it is important to note that not every part of a solar panel can be recycled. For example, solar panels are constructed with a lot of heavy metals such as gallium and indium which are not easy to recycle. But most components of the panels can be recycled, including:
- Sheets of glass that make up the solar panel
- Wires and the metal frame
- Plexiglass used in the construction
Recycling Silicon Cells
Next, it is important to highlight that the silicon cells themselves are able to be recycled. While silicon wafers are not recyclable in the same manner as glass or plastic, there are some specialized companies that are able to reuse silicon cells. They melt cells down, reclaim the silicon, restore various other metals, and put them back to use in other materials. In this manner, recycling these elements can significantly help to protect the environment.
Where Can Solar Panels Be Recycled?
So where can a homeowner recycle old solar panels? Obviously, they can’t just be thrown into a recycle bin, but there are companies that specialize in hard to recycle materials like solar panels.
One helpful place to look is the Solar Energy Industries Association, an organization that lists recycling partners to help homeowners and businesses recycle their solar panels. It’s a good idea to check out their list now and make plans for when it’s time to replace your solar panels.
Work with Maui Solar Project
If you are looking to invest in solar energy for the first time or looking to get the most out of your solar energy system, then contact us at Maui Solar Project. We specialize in solar energy for the islands. Contact us today to learn more about our services!