Photovoltaic systems are the most promising technology among renewable energy sources thanks to their low cost, versatility, and abundance of radiant light emitted by the sun. However, by 2019, this enterprise came across an unavoidable challenge, and that is waste management. It is a known fact that global e-waste reached almost 42 million metric tons in 2014, and millions more will reach their expected life-use by 2040 (IRENA, 2020). Global e-waste is estimated to exceed 10% of all worldwide waste by 2050 (Heath, 2019).

By recycling silicone panels, materials like aluminum, plastic, silicon, and—in lower quantities—silver and copper, can be recovered; while recycling processes for new products like thin-film and crystalline silicon PV panels are beginning implementation. The estimated value for material recovery in PV elements is estimated at $15 billion by 2050 (IRENA, 2016).

Join the discussion and explore the importance of addressing recycling in the photovoltaic industry in Puerto Rico. Aside from the benefits of increasing deployment of renewable energy, it is important to understand the effects and externalities of this industry in Puerto Rico, such as the value of post-project PV components, entrepreneurial opportunities, public health, and landfill diversion, among others.

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