CPSC SOLAR PANEL STEWARDSHIP
CPSC is leading several solar panel recovery projects and policy development in California that expand circular solar energy systems with reduced cost-burden on local government and rate payers through producer engagement.
WHY CARE ABOUT SOLAR PANELS
Solar panel installation is on the rise across the country, with California taking the lead, and are play an essential role in the country's net-zero emissions goals. However, solar panels have a life expectancy of 20-30 years, with factors such as weather events leading many panels to be replaced even sooner. As solar panels are being removed, lack of recycling and proper end-of-life management leads to solar contractors stockpiling these panels.
HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOUR PANELS CAN BE REUSED
For working panels, recycling is not preferred as the waste hierarchy promotes reuse over recycling. Reuse can serve as a form of source reduction and equity as more people can have access to low-cost panels. In order for panels to be reused, they must pass certain safety certifications. The California Energy Commission maintains a list of PV modules available for purchase which shows information about the PV modules such as manufacturer, model number, as well as information regarding safety certifications.
THE FUTURE OF SOLAR PANEL RECYCLING
Many states across the country, including California, have changed the classification of solar panels from Hazardous Waste to Universal Waste. This classification makes solar panels disposal and recycling easier and less expensive. For a full list of states that classify solar panels as Universal Waste, visit the State Universal Waste Programs Web page.
To create a proper end-of-life management plan for solar panels, the International Renewable Energy Agency suggests creating one based on the extended-producer-responsibility (EPR) principle, which holds producers responsible for the environmental impact of their products through to end-of-life and provides incentives for the development of greener products with lower environmental impacts and contributes funds to finance proper collection, treatment, recycling and disposal systems.
FREE SOLAR PANEL COLLECTION OPPORTUNITIES IN CALIFORNIA
CPSC has completed the solar pilot projects in the City of Santa Monica and Butte County. Read more about the pilot projects in the City of Santa Monica and Butte County and opportunities for engagement.
For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
INFORMATION ON SOLAR PANEL PILOT PROJECTS IN CALIFORNIA
Below is a short, 15-minute video explaining CPSC's role in solar panel regulations in California, an explanation of the active pilot projects, and how you can get involved with CPSC to push solar panel recovery systems in California.
CPSC SOLAR PILOT PROJECTS
Watch the videos below to learn about CPSC's partnership with CalRecycle, Butte County, and the City of Santa Monica to pilot a first-in-the-state solar panel reuse and recycling program.
City of Santa Monica
SONOMA COUNTY SOLAR PILOT PROJECT
View the presentation below to learn about Zero Waste Sonoma's Solar Panel Pilot Project in partnership with CalRecycle, and Conservation Corps North Bay. Learn more: https://zerowastesonoma.gov/materials/solar-panels
SOLAR PANEL PRESS AND MEDIA
Solar panel recycling gets off the ground in Sonoma County - Northern California Public Media, 7/13/2023
Challenge to stop solar panels become a 'waste mountain' - BBC News, 6/4/2023
New push to create solar panel recycling program in California - CBS News Bay Area, 3/8/2023
California went big on rooftop solar. It created an environmental danger in the process - LA Times, 07/14/2022
Solar Panel Recycling Pilot Wraps Up in City of Santa Monica, CA - Waste Advantage Magazine, 4/22/22
Piloting Solar Panel Recycling and Reusable Marine Flares in California - HHWIE Conference, 1/19/2022
Solar Panel Recycling Research from the Counties of Butte and San Mateo and the City of Santa Monica - IEEE Photovoltaics Specialists Conference, 6/18/20
California Pushes for Solar Panel Waste Policy- Waste360, 3/31/20
Panels Be Gone- Chico News and Review, 6/13/19
Protecting Butte County Together- Chico News and Review, 5/23/19