End-of-Life management of photovoltaic panels in Austria: current situation and outlook

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In recent years the end-of-life (EOL) management of photovoltaic (PV) panels has started to attract more attention. By including PV panels in the WEEE Directive in 2012 the European Union has introduced a concrete legislative framework regarding EOL for this sector. Several research investigations into specialized PV recycling processes have been conducted over the last years, although very few of the findings have been implemented on a commercial level up to now. Nowadays, recycling usually still takes place in general recycling plants for flat glass or waste electronics. In this work, the current situation regarding EOL management of PV panels in Austria is analysed by literature research and interviews with stakeholders relevant to the EOL of PV panels. The legislative framework (including national peculiarities) and its influence on current procedures regarding collection and subsequent treatment is shown. Furthermore, current recycling processes are described and a country specific prognosis model is created to assess the future development of waste quantities. Results show that the amount of PV panel waste arising in Austria at the moment is very small and therefore no dedicated recycling takes place. However, quantities will considerably rise in the upcoming years and will act as the main driving force for the implementation of an improved EOL management system including specialised recovery processes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75 - 81
Number of pages7
Issue numberJune
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020