The total number of solar panels at the end of their life is estimated to increase by 1700% by 2030 as the first generation of solar panels are replaced with new technologies.
This rapid growth of end-of-life Photovoltaic (PV) systems has been known for some time, and as such were placed on the Environment Minister’s Product Stewardship Priority List in 2016.
The current Minister’s Priority List includes the following actions:
- An industry agreed nationwide scheme design for PV systems must be finalised by June 2022.
- The nationwide scheme must be operational by June 2023 and include an approach to deal with legacy panels.
While progress has been limited and no industry-led, national product stewardship scheme has been developed, end-of-life PV systems remain a future environmental problem.
To achieve a national solution, the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence was engaged by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) in November 2021, to facilitate the establishment of the co-design process to include solar industry stakeholders and government to further the development of a product stewardship scheme for PV systems.
The co-design process includes an Industry Working Group (IWG) comprising representatives from industry associations, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of solar panels and inverters, energy companies, research organisations and independent industry experts.
The IWG’s role is to confirm scheme scope, objectives, funding principles, governance, roles and responsibilities, with a view to co-designing an implementation-ready stewardship scheme for PV systems.
A Stakeholder Reference Network (SRN) is also being formed to allow interested organisations to learn what’s happening and to provide feedback to the IWG on technical, policy and regulatory matters. The SRN will also provide opportunities for service providers, businesses and other stakeholders to contribute up‑to-the-minute information related to decommissioning services, collection logistics, materials handling, reuse and recycling.
A final report will also document the co-design process and identify next steps for implementation identifying the major barriers to establishing a national scheme.
The project team is eager to hear your views and solutions that can inform the design and implementation of an industry-led, national product stewardship scheme for PV systems.
Register your interest in being part of the SRN by contacting the project team. We encourage stakeholders to make contact and share solution-oriented perspectives on creating a timely and world-class stewardship scheme that the solar industry can be proud of.
Download the first project update here.
Rose Read, Director, Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence
M: 0418 216 364 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org