Can my Solar Panels be Recycled?

Are you considering installing solar panels at home? Like many homeowners, you may be searching for more budget-friendly and eco-friendly ways to power your home, and solar panels are often an excellent solution. They’re a popular choice for many reasons: solar energy is completely clean and truly a renewable energy source. Solar panels reduce electricity bills, they’re low maintenance, and they generate clean energy for your home, even on cloudy days. 

But how long do solar panels last, and can they be recycled when it’s time to replace them? 

Solar panels on average last around 25-30 years, and in addition to providing clean energy, nearly every part of a solar panel can be recycled and reused. As mentioned, solar panels have a very long life and most homes will enjoy their solar panels for as long as 30 years. Both silicon based and thin-film based panels are made up of several basic components – glass, plastic, aluminum, silicon, metals – with the recycling process being slightly different for each type.

Once silicon based solar panels are disassembled, 95% of the glass and 100% of the metal are reused. The materials are processed at an extremely high temperature during which the plastic evaporates and is then reused as a heat source. In the end, 85% of the silicon can be reused.

After thin-film panels are collected, they’re shredded into pieces as small as four to five millimeters in order to remove the lamination. Then, the parts made of metals are separated and processed while the glass is cleaned. Once a thin-film panel is completely broken down, 90% of the glass can be reused and 95% of the other materials are reused.

Because solar panels are relatively new, there is room for improvement in the recycling process. Not to mention, new recycling methods are currently being tested. But rest assured that your home solar panels are fully recyclable and no parts will go to waste. 

Clean energy with residential solar panels 

Did you know that you don’t need to live in a place where it’s sunny all the time to enjoy the benefits of solar panels? While some people falsely believe that solar panels only work when the sun is out in full force, solar panels can actually gather and store energy on cloudy days, and during the colder months as well. 

If you’ve been considering residential solar panels, give our team a call and learn more about the options available. We’ve been serving the Morris County NJ community for more than a decade and we’re passionate about making clean, renewable energy available to everyone.