After the lights go out, waste from solar panels can be dangerous – The New Indian Express

Express press service

BENGALURU: While the state government of Karnataka promotes green energy, little or no attention has been paid to the management of solar panel waste. Now used solar panels are dumped in landfills and treated as regular waste. Recyclers are also hesitant to recycle panels, as the cost of producing new panels has dropped significantly in recent years. Environmentalists point out that solar module waste is not covered by current policies on solid waste management rules, which could lead to major environmental concerns down the road.

“Bengaluru does not have a separate center for recycling or disposing of solar waste,” said Vinod, owner of V1 Energy, a solar power equipment supplier. If there is less waste, it is usually thrown away with regular waste, if there is a lot, it is sent to landfills. Vinod said he does not prefer recycling because it is expensive and making new panels is much cheaper.

The draft Karnataka Renewable Energy Policy for the next five years, presented by the Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL), makes no mention of disposal of solar panel waste. Worryingly, this waste could reach huge levels, as Karnataka is among the leading states in the renewable energy (RE) sector.

“The panels installed in the early 2000s are about to expire and will be discarded in a few years. This will generate large amounts of waste, and if the country does not come up with a waste management policy at the earliest, we will not be able to deal with the waste at the eleventh hour,” said Ayush Shukla, director of the National Federation of ‘solar energy. of India (NSEFI).

An environment officer from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board admitted that there was a need for a policy which should be chalked out by the Centre. Best practices from other countries should be adopted when formulating the policy, he added.

A report by Bridge To India (BTI), a renewable energy consultancy, said the volume of photovoltaic (PV) panel waste in the country is expected to reach 2,000,000 tonnes by 2030 and around 1.8 million tons by 2050. .

Most solar recycling plants only remove silver and copper from cells. They burn the glass and plastic casings in cement kilns for recycling. Incineration releases toxins and greenhouse gases into the environment. “As the process is expensive and time-consuming, companies prefer to throw the dead panels into landfills or export them to third world countries,” said Poorna Khanna, an environmentalist.

Studies have shown that heavy metals found in solar panels, including lead and cadmium, can contaminate groundwater and affect plant life. Records also show that these metals can harm human health, she said.

BENGALURU: While the state government of Karnataka promotes green energy, little or no attention has been paid to the management of solar panel waste. Now used solar panels are dumped in landfills and treated as regular waste. Recyclers are also hesitant to recycle panels, as the cost of producing new panels has dropped significantly in recent years. Environmentalists point out that solar module waste is not covered by current policies on solid waste management rules, which could lead to major environmental concerns down the road. “Bengaluru does not have a separate center for recycling or disposing of solar waste,” said Vinod, owner of V1 Energy, a solar power equipment supplier. If there is less waste, it is usually thrown away with regular waste, if there is a lot, it is sent to landfills. Vinod said he does not prefer recycling because it is expensive and making new panels is much cheaper. The draft Karnataka Renewable Energy Policy for the next five years, presented by the Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL), makes no mention of disposal of solar panel waste. Worryingly, this waste could reach huge levels, as Karnataka is among the leading states in the renewable energy (RE) sector. “The panels installed in the early 2000s are about to expire and will be discarded in a few years. This will generate large amounts of waste, and if the country does not come up with a waste management policy at the earliest, we will not be able to deal with the waste at the eleventh hour,” said Ayush Shukla, director of the National Federation of ‘solar energy. of India (NSEFI). An environment officer from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board admitted that there was a need for a policy which should be chalked out by the Centre. Best practices from other countries should be adopted when formulating the policy, he added. A report by Bridge To India (BTI), a renewable energy consultancy, said the volume of photovoltaic (PV) panel waste in the country is expected to reach 2,000,000 tonnes by 2030 and around 1.8 million tons by 2050. Most solar recycling plants only remove silver and copper from cells. They burn the glass and plastic casings in cement kilns for recycling. Incineration releases toxins and greenhouse gases into the environment. “As the process is expensive and time-consuming, companies prefer to dump the dead panels in landfills or export them to third world countries,” said Poorna Khanna, an environmentalist. Studies have shown that heavy metals found in solar panels, including lead and cadmium, can contaminate groundwater and affect plant life. Records also show that these metals can harm human health, she said.

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