Curious Recycler: What happens to solar panels if they stop working or are damaged? Can they be recycled?


Icon Solar often gets questions regarding how we recycle damaged or inoperative solar panels. It’s a valid one, especially when we claim how environmentally friendly it is. Let me explain…

Wanda explains how Icon Solar installs solar panelsIn their report, the International Renewable Energy Agency  (IRENA) identifies that components of c-Si modules, like Icon Solar’s. They contain about 76% glass, 10% polymer, 8% aluminum, 5% silicon, 1% copper and less than 0.1% of silver, tin and lead. That’s almost completely recyclable in some way.

Icon Solar’s chosen solar panels are designed to last far more than 25 years, so our PV panels haven’t really seen the end of their life cycle yet. Icon Solar’s products, since 2009, have proven to be quite durable and have rarely been damaged, holding up even through the hailstorms.

For right now, Icon Solar uses inoperative panels for models in our showroom in Milford, though it’s hard to tell they’re broken. Our installers are also refurbishing a few for some marketing projects. Other than that, there are just a few sitting in our warehouse. We’re waiting for them to stack up before sending them to one of our local companies that specialize in recycling solar panels. That could be 25 years before they even get to a point where it’s worth our and the recycling company’s resources on the process.

Thanks for your eco-considerate question, Curious Recycler!

Until next time,

Wanda the Wealth Warrior