What happens to Solar Plants after their Lifespan?

There is an abundance of items that get better with age. For example: wines, cheeses, cast iron skillets, high-quality leather, and 401Ks. However, this isn’t the case with a lot of equipment you invest in. Whether it’s a car, tractor, or solar power plants, most of these have a finite useful life.

While deciding if solar is right for many customers, an important factor that comes to play is  understanding their lifecycle and what happens to the panels at the end of their life span. In today’s blog, we’ll go over what happens at the end of your solar plant’s lifespan using the below infographic:


As mentioned in the infographic above, by 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency projects that up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life, and that the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar e-waste annually. 

For the solar recycling industry to grow sustainably, it will ultimately need supportive policies and regulations. In the EU, producers are required to ensure their solar panels are recycled properly. In Japan, India, and Australia, they’re coming up with a recycling plan. And in the US, with the exception of a state law in Washington that requires manufacturers to recycle the panels, there is no plan. Like the climate crisis, this is a future problem that must be addressed now like it is being done in the EU. Renewables are absolutely the way forward when it comes to producing clean energy. By emulating the EU in tackling the recycling of solar power plants, we can increase employment opportunities in the sustainability field and in so doing contribute further towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Not interested in installing your own solar power plant? 

You can still benefit from renewable energy and contribute to sustainability by sourcing your energy from producers of renewable energy on the SunContract energy marketplace.

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