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Can Solar Panels Be Recycled?

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Solar panels were created to help reduce carbon emissions and reverse our reliance on using fossil fuels for electricity. However, they might not be as environmentally friendly as people think, as, so far, the only way they can be disposed of is on a landfill site. However, scientists have found a way that solar panels can also be recycled, helping in the fight against climate change. 

Rystad Energy revealed recyclable materials from PV panels will increase in value over the next few years, soaring from $170 million (£142 million) in 2022 to $2.7 billion in 2030, as more people consider installing solar panels in their homes. 

It even predicted the industry could be worth $80 billion by 2050, with recovered materials from retired panels expected to contribute six per cent to solar investments from just 0.08 per cent these days. 

Rystad Energy analyst Kristin Stuge stated: “Rising energy costs, improved recycling technology, and government regulations may pave the way for a market where more defunct solar panels are sent to recycling rather than the nearest landfill.”

She stated that recycling these panels can reduce costs for operators, help combat supply chain problems, and enable more countries to meet their climate change goals. 

Indeed, to help reach net-zero emissions by 2050, 40 per cent of the world’s power, or 19 terawatts, will need to be generated by solar energy.

However, according to the United Nations, governments are not on target to reach net-zero by 2050. In order to achieve this, they would need to “significantly strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions and take bold, immediate steps towards reducing emissions now”. 

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