PV reaching end of life: a great challenge for waste management


Solartys cluster, dedicated to promoting the competitiveness of the solar energy sector and energy efficiency, organized on April 26 the “PV RECYCLING WORKSHOP”, a day to know the situation of the recycling of solar panels and the opportunities that may bring in a short term to the sector.

The event, held in a privileged location at Leitat Technology Center in Terrassa, took as its starting point the presentation of the results of the European project ELSi, funded by the Horizon 2020 program under the European Commission. The session began with the presentations made by European partners from Germany and Belgium. On one side, Fraunhofer and Geltz Umwelttechnologie presentations had a technical approach and were aimed at disseminating the results obtained in the valorization and treatment of the different elements composing solar panels. And on the other hand, Suez, Revatech and Variata spoke to us about the study carried out at European level on waste generation, forecasting for the next years and relevant legislation.

The second part of the day had the presentations of Spanish experts on recycling, solar energy and life cycle analysis. The Agència Catalana de Residus and Recyclia gave us the main figures and situation of the Spanish market, followed by first-hand success stories from Leitat and Inèdit Innovació. To end an intense day, Leitat’s scientific staff offered a guided tour to learn about their facilities and the various research projects they are working on.

The event took place in a relaxed atmosphere, thanks to very participative and highly specialized participants which facilitated both an interesting and enriching debate and the exchange of ideas during the event.

More information:

Alba Álvarez

Cluster manager of Solartys and PR of ELSi project

Solartys, Cluster for the Internationalization and Innovation of Spanish Solar Energy Companies, works with companies throughout Spain related to the fields of energy efficiency and solar energy. The group plays a key role in promoting the internationalization and competitiveness of its members, with the support of the Spanish Government, regional autonomous organizations and the European Union. Related to international cooperation, Solartys works with universities, research centers, companies and public bodies that provide technical advice and promotion of networks among all the actors involved.


ELSi project

During the last 25 years there has been a rapid expansion in the deployment of photovoltaic (PV) systems throughout Europe. There are no signs of this growth decreasing. The first photovoltaic systems are now reaching the end of their working life: a great challenge for the elimination that will increase in the coming years.

Our team has identified a commercial and market opportunity caused by this growing problem. We have a technological approach that will be established and validated on an industrial scale during the coming months.