The Solar Boom Will Create Millions of Tons of Junk Panels

The solar-energy boom will trigger a landslide of electronic waste in the coming decades. Some companies are already preparing for the recycling challenge.

Solar panels are typically built to last between 25 and 30 years. Most in use today have many years of life left in them, and the few that are scrapped due to damage or age often end up in trash heaps. Experts say the small waste volumes mean it isn’t yet profitable to harvest the glass, aluminum, copper, silicon, silver and lead from old panels, but the breakneck expansion of solar power is expected to change that.

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