What To Do With Used Solar Panels? Must Read!

Solar Panel 10 Mins Read Sofia Jul 13, 2022
used solar panels

Since the year 2000, the use of solar panels has been going up and continues to go up even further.  The number of people installing solar panels has been growing exponentially, something that speaks to a good sign.  With the world gearing up towards green energy, the increased use of solar panels heralds good things to come.  The increased use of solar panels has consequently led to an increase in the high number of used solar panels.  

Are The Solar Panels Free Of Pollution?

By the year 2015, it was estimated that up to 222 gigawatts of solar energy had been installed worldwide.  This, as said above, has been a good sign.  However, solar panels come with a challenge that many people are not aware of.  For instance, not so many people know exactly what the lifespan of solar panels is.  

Some of them think that they last forever, which is never the case in some incidents.  All solar panels have a lifetime.  Thus, as you buy a solar panel, it is essential for you to know exactly what its lifespan is.  In fact, if you are using used solar panels, then better make sure you enquire about their life.  

What Is The Life Span Of The Solar Panels?

If you do not know about this, then this is something you need to know pretty well.  All solar panels come with a lifespan depending on where you use them.  The lifespan of these panels varies from one to the other depending on the make.  As such, when buying any, you need to be conscious of this issue before even asking where solar panels are used.  

  • It is estimated that the life span of many solar panels is about 25 to 30 years.  Beyond this period, the panels might become somehow useless, doing so little in their primary purpose.  As such, when buying used solar panels, it is essential for you to enquire about the life of the panel.
  • So when you are planning to buy used solar panels, only searching the used solar panels for sale near me is not going to lead you to your actual target.
  • If not, then you risk buying a solar panel that edges closer to the end of its life. Buying a new solar panel is what you need to be doing if you hope for a good life with solar panels.  This is so essential as it will give you a full life of immense life of solar energy.  

However, even with new solar panels, you need to know that they come with a lifespan.  This means that their use might end after some time, requiring a replacement. Preparing for this means that you will not be caught unawares in case your life ends.  Thus, before doing anything, you need to ask yourself what are solar panels used for and then look at their lifespan. 

What To Do With Used Solar Panels 

Now that you know solar panels come with a lifespan, it is now essential to think of what to do with used solar panels.  Better still, if you have quite a number of used solar panels, you might want to know exactly what to do with these solar panels when their life ends. 

Given that many people do not know that solar panels come with a lifespan means that they do not know much about this.  Many of them do not even anticipate an end to the life of solar panels, meaning when their life ends, this catches them unawares.  

You Can Repair Them For Further Use or Sell Them

In fact, when the life of some solar panels ends, some people try out various things, including trying to repair them.  What they do not know is that such efforts cannot pay off, given that the solar is already out of its life.  Any repair attempts might only lead to more problems in the end, given that you will spend so much of your money with no returns in the end.  

On the other side, knowing what to do with used solar panels will offer you directions on what to do when this time comes.  Unfortunately, not many people do not have an idea of what to do with used solar panels, which somehow makes it more of a challenge in some ways.  

Used Solar Panels Can Easily Translate To Waste Materials 

The high number of solar panels being installed is both a good and bad thing altogether.  The good thing is that solar energy is such a good step towards attaining a safe environment.  As cases of global warming continue to surge, the use of solar panels is a good step in slowing down this whole issue. 

  • On the flip side, though, the increased number of used solar panels amounts to waste.  As the use of solar panels increases, there is a consequential increase in used solar panels as well.
  • This high number of used solar panels, therefore, means that there is so much waste coming from the same.  
  • The bad thing, though, now is that there is still nothing concrete that used solar panels can do. 
  • Even though there have been innovative ideas coming up in this regard, there is no better idea as to what to do with these materials. Used solar panels, for instance, cannot be buried, and this is because of many reasons.  

First, doing so will mean dumping waste into the environment.  This, as you know, constitutes environmental pollution.  It is not the same thing that solar panels are trying to avoid. Yes, it is.  Therefore, looking at things from this angle therefore puts out the idea of dumping them into the ground.  

Solutions To Used Solar Panels 

One of the problems that have been bothering scientists for a long now has been finding something better than used panels can do.  Any idea that comes up in this regard comes with its own limitations as well.  There are quite a number of reasons as to why this is the case, and once you understand, you will know why.  

Solution 1: First, solar panels are constructed using different materials which are distinct. Therefore, any ideas coming along these lines have to be put into consideration all these factors, which are very critical. 

Even though, It is simple to come up with ideas that can accommodate all these solar materials, it is not easy. Coming up with such an idea, first of all, is not so easy. 

Solution 2: The next thing is that such ideas will be so expensive hence being less attractive.  This is why, despite there being efforts to come up with an idea in this regard, so little has come up. 

There could be solutions, no doubt. However, some of these solutions are not viable.  

This is exactly why so many people are still stuck with used solar panels.  Nonetheless, there are still some options in this regard, but all of them come with some kind of limitations. That said, if you have some used solar panels, then here are some of the options available to you.  

What About The Recycling Process Of Solar Panels?

This is always the first option when it comes to used solar panels.  Many people will argue that this is the best choice for you and other people who still have these materials. 

  • Sounds better that way, given that there are many other materials that are recycled.  However, there are some problems with this which you need to know.  
  • First of all, you need to know that recycling is always a good idea if there are useful materials coming out of this process. 
  • The high demand for these materials is what should keep this process going full cycle.  If you look at the case of plastic, for instance, plastic is recycled, and its materials are used to make other plastic materials.  
  • In such a case, this is a noble idea giving people with used plastics an idea of what exactly to do. When it comes to solar, the case is a bit different when you look at things from this perspective. For instance, as of now, there are no known products that come out of recycled solar panels.  

This means that whatever is going on is more of an experimental process than an actual process.  This, therefore, has demotivated any efforts to find any recycling solution to this problem. Many attempts coming in this area have failed squarely due to this reason.  

What Are The Mixed Solar Panels Materials?

The other thing that needs to be known is that solar panels are made using different materials.  Some of these materials are so many and different depending on the kind of solar materials used.

  • That is not all; in some cases, the materials could be hazardous, making the whole process even more difficult.  
  • These issues, coupled with the fact that it is somehow harder to sell any recycled used solar panels, have made the entire process difficult. 
  • The good thing, though, is that there are still some efforts geared towards finding a lasting solution to used solar panels.  
  • Somehow, the solution will come, whether it is from recycling these materials or through other means. A solution has to be found which will accommodate all the used solar panels. 
  • If not, people will have no other option but to dump these materials into the ground, which will lead to more harm in the end.  

Environmental pollution is definitely going to be the effect of there not being a credible solution in this regard.  It is therefore very essential to try and make sure any efforts aimed at finding a solution to used solar panels yield in the end.  

High Recycling Costs  

The business of recycling used solar panels is one that cannot yield much in the end.  In fact, when you look at it from the outset then, you will realize that it is not even a business capable of attracting investors in any way. 

Separating The Metals:

First, the process of separating the used solar panels is not a cheap one. It is very expensive and takes so much time.  

Once this process is completed, 75% of the recovered materials are glass which even makes it harder. The recovered glass comes with so minimal resale value, which then makes it hard for business.  Remember, these processes are not coming in cheap.  When you take that and combine it with the fact that the recycled glass has low resale value, you find a business that is less attractive.  

This is exactly why the idea of recycling used solar panels has not appealed to so many investors.  If, indeed, someone intends to make use of used solar panels, then they have to think of a much better idea. Other than that, solar materials have to be used for other purposes that do not necessarily include recycling.  

High Training Costs For The Skilled Manpower

If you have to recycle used solar panels on a large scale, then you are going to need skilled manpower to help you make this possible. 

  • Given that very few people have training and skills in this area means that a lot of training is needed.  Essential and needed as it might seem, this training will not come in cheap; it definitely will be expensive.  
  • This training will definitely take time and will consume a lot of resources.  The limited number of trainers also means that the process will not go seamlessly without interruptions. There will be some. Other logistical challenges will also make this entire process even more complicated.  
  • The other bigger problem that also needs not be overlooked is the lack of clear data regarding used solar panels.  This bit alone translates to inadequate raw materials, which makes the process of running any recycling industry difficult. 
  • The fact that solar panels do not age out all at once means that it is a risky thing to wait until the available panels run out of life before recycling them.  

This is why operationalizing such an industry as an independent industry running on used solar panels alone is not an easy thing. The industry itself might not have a long life, just like the solar panels themselves do.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: How Much Of Solar Panels Are Harmful To The Environment?

Maybe solar energy is a greener concert. And limited the oil pollution of nature. But solar panels are not entirely free of pollutants. Like every type of E-waste, solar panels are also causing heavy pollution of nature. 
Solar panels are fragile and easily breakable. And if this happens, it becomes hazardous. As these solar panels contain heavy metals, they require immediate solar panel processing to cut down the waste.

Q2: How Much Pollution Do Solar Panels Make?

When the solar panels are in working mode, it does not produce too many pollutants. But when the solar panels are not working, it’s broken. 
At that time, solar panels require a steady process to control the pollution that solar panels are making.

Q3: Do The Discarded Solar Panels Produce Waste?

Solar panel wastes include many heavy metals such as silver, iron, cadmium and arsenic. These types of metals are causing serious pollution. 
So when you are discarding the solar panels, always dump the discarded panels in the right allocated spaces. This way, you can easily control the environmental pollution caused by solar panels.


There are quite some ideas that make for the case of using used solar panels.  However, some of these ideas, as you have seen, are some with so many limitations, which make their implementation hard.  But like every other type of waste, solar panels also have different areas to dispose of. And after the disposal of the solar panels, the processing is entirely different. So you have to maintain the guidance of disposal of the used solar panels.



Sofia Kelly is a passionate blogger. She loves to share her thoughts, ideas, and experiences with the world through blogging. Sofia Kelly is associated with Instana Green World & Big Jar News.

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Sofia Kelly is a passionate blogger. She loves to share her thoughts, ideas, and experiences with the world through blogging. Sofia Kelly is associated with Instana Green World & Big Jar News.

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