India to generate 600 kilotonnes of solar waste by 2030: What a new study says

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Environment and Ecology, Topic: Waste Management, Issue: Solar waste

Context: Solar waste produced by India is expected to reach 600 kt by 2030

Solar waste:

  • Manufacturing waste comprises scrap and waste from failed quality tests.
  • Field waste includes waste from transporting, handling, damage during operation, and end-of-life modules.

Two broad methods of recycling solar panels:

  • Conventional recycling involves mechanical processes but cannot recover valuable materials like silver and silicon.
  • High-value recycling uses mechanical, chemical, and thermal processes to recover valuable materials like silver and silicon.

The way ahead

  • Establish a comprehensive database of installed solar capacity to estimate future solar waste.
  • Incentivize recyclers and stakeholders to effectively manage solar waste.
  • Focus on creating a market for solar recycling to address the immediate and future waste issues.
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