Solar panels, which are used to harness solar energy and convert it into electricity, have witnessed increased adoption globally over the years. As the installed base of solar panels continues to grow rapidly in response to global climate change initiatives and increasing focus on renewable sources of energy, the volume of solar panels reaching their end-of-life is also anticipated to rise substantially in the coming years. This presents a significant opportunity for the solar panel recycling market to flourish. Solar panels primarily comprise silicon, glass, aluminum, copper, and other commodities that have economic value if recovered and reused. The recycling of solar panels allows for the materials contained within to be recovered and reused in new module manufacturing, creating a circular economy. It also helps in environmentally sound management of solar panel waste at its end-of-life.
The global solar panel recycling market was valued at US$ 298 Mn in 2023 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 19% over the forecast period 2023 – 2030, as highlighted in a new report published by CoherentMI.
Growing solar PV adoption globally coupled with government initiatives promoting solar panel recycling are expected to drive the solar panel recycling market over the forecast period. As solar energy continues to gain traction as a viable renewable energy solution worldwide in response to climate change concerns, global solar PV installations are anticipated to increase substantially. International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that global cumulative solar PV capacity will grow from 770 GW in 2020 to over 4,600 GW by 2030. As the operating lifetime of a typical solar panel ranges between 25 to 30 years, large volumes of solar panels installed today will start reaching end-of-life and need recycling in the coming decade. This growing need to ensure environmentally responsible solar panel waste management presents lucrative demand growth opportunities for solar panel recycling service providers.
The global solar panel recycling market is dominated by the residential sub segment. Residential solar panel installations are growing rapidly due to easy availability of government subsidies and affordable financing options for homeowners. Since the average lifespan of a residential solar panel is 25 years, non-functioning panels need recycling. This is driving the residential sub segment growth which accounts for more than 60% of the market currently.
Solar Panel Recycling Market Segmentation:
- By Panel Type
- Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Panels
- Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Panels
- Thin Film Solar Panels
- Others (Cadmium Telluride (CdTe), Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS))
- By Process
- Others (Shot blasting, magnetic, gravity)
- By Shelf Life
- Early Loss
- Normal Loss
- Degradation Loss
- Others (slow loss, rapid loss)
- By End User
- Commercial & Industrial
Political: Stringent regulations regarding e-waste recycling and solar panel disposal in countries like the US, Germany, and China are boosting market growth. Tax rebates for recycling are encouraging panels recycling.
Economic: High setup and maintenance costs of recycling plants pose challenges. Growing renewable energy industry is creating volumes for recycling.
Social: Increasing awareness about sustainable energy and proper waste disposal is positively impacting the market. However, lack of collection infrastructure in developing nations is a constraint.
Technological: Advanced sorting and processing technologies for recovering precious metals like silver, lead, chromium are gaining traction. Use of robotics is improving recycling efficiency.
The global Solar Panel Recycling Market Size is estimated to be valued at US$ 298 Mn in 2023 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 19% over the forecast period 2023 – 2030.
Regional Analysis: North America dominates currently due to supportive policies and presence of recycling giants like eClaim PV. The Asia Pacific market is expected to witness the fastest growth with a CAGR of over 25% owing to the rapidly expanding solar industry in China and India.
Key Players: Key players operating in the solar panel recycling market are eclaim PV, Canadian Solar, Silcontel, Reclaim PV Recycling, and Envaris.
1. Source: CoherentMI, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it