#6 – Consumers who buy solar panels have already proven that they are willing to make an investment in order to protect the environment.

Consumers who buy solar panels have already proven that they are willing to make an investment in order to protect the environment. Consumers and investors will be more likely to buy or invest in a company that is living up to the image they have created for themselves – one that will keep the planet green and clean.

As solar energy industry works to replace polluting fossil fuels, it is in the industry’s best interest to ensure that pollutants from the panels don’t enter the environment.  Only the solar producers can ensure that this will happen by eliminating pollution during production and taking back the panels and recycling them responsibly.

Only the manufacturers will be able to develop programs to takeback their panels and guarantee that reusable materials are incorporated into new products. Responsible recycling will also prevent chemicals from harming workers, communities or the environment. By implementing recycling programs, producers will be able to determine how to construct the panels in a way that is easily recyclable. They will also receive firsthand knowledge on ways to reduce the use of toxic substances.

When consumers see that companies are committed to the environment and are creating manufacturing and recycling jobs in their own backyard, they will feel more secure about the investment they have made in solar energy.

Enthusiasm for solar and trust of brand loyalty may be undermined when consumers learn that their panels are being dumped or mishandled and are harming the environment.

Solar companies that do not support mandatory takeback or that work against any type of recycling legislation would find themselves contradicting the concepts of being green, and their brand would certainly come into question when the public finds out.

More than any other industry, solar companies need to get behind takeback and responsible recycling to ensure that it is a universal policy if they want to continue to be seen as green and clean.

Comments

Solar panels generally have a life span of 20-25 years, so most of them have not yet reached the end of their useful life. However, factory scrap, broken panels from transportation and field failures already provide recycling materials. While some manufacturing companies (Solar World, First Solar et.c.) are doing their own recycling, there are also some independent third party companies that undertake recycling tasks. Moreover, manufacturers and distributors have formed organizations for photovoltaic recycling, such as the PV CYCLE in Europe. In any case, all the necessary precautions should be taken due to the fact that some materials contained in the solar panels (silicon tetrachloride, cadmium, et.c.) are considered dangerous to the environment.