Solar Power is growing rapidly in popularity. With this increase in demand, is also coming an rapid introduction of new technologies and the inevitable obsolescence of the old. For example, the new Solar Energy Generating Globe is making headlines for its 30% increase in energy conversion, and not to mention its beautiful design:
At Cleanlites we are always excited to hear about new technology that can make sustainability a bigger reality in the future. But did you know that old solar panels should not be thrown away? In fact they contain a number of resources that are not only useful, but in fact can cause environmental damage when disposed of improperly
What’s In Solar Panels?
Solar Panels are made so that the light energy from the sun, can cause electron movement and therefore generate power. In order to do this, it is necessary to involve varying materials that when put together will promote electron movement.
In the picture below, the solar panel is using tin, silicon, and aluminum to produce energy. the “EVA” is a polymer plastic substance that oftentimes is used to house silicon.
While these materials almost magically seem to produce energy from our sun, the chemical process is more complicated. Different models may use different chemicals, and, as technology progresses, these types of solar panels may become obsolete.
Solar Panel Recycling: Sustainable Lifecycles
Cleanlites wants to promote the use of sustainable energy production like solar and wind power. However, we also want to stress the importance of proper disposal of old products and technology. As alternative energy sources continue to grown in popularity, solar panel recycling will become an important part of the energy lifecycle.
At facilities like Cleanlites, we can properly disassemble solar panels, isolating the EVA and Silicon safely while reusing resources like tin, aluminum, plastics and batteries. If you are using solar power, we commend you and hope that once you are ready to upgrade your technology, you make the right choice and recycle your old solar technology.