Solar Panel Recycling Initiative

ISTC launched this initiative to lead efforts to prepare the state for a glut of end-of-life solar panels and ensure they are recycled and/or repurposed or disposed of properly. This is needed to prevent toxic compounds from leaching into the environment, as well as to avoid disposal of valuable and finite resources into landfills.

Currently there is no strong recycling infrastructure nor major solar recyclers in Illinois. Thus, ISTC is helping to coordinate consideration of recycling and repurposing issues to determine best steps for Illinois on this waste management issue and establish a recycling network in the state. ISTC is facilitating discussions and meetings with state and federal organizations interested in solar [e.g., Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA), SEIA, and IL EPA] as well as installers, manufacturers, and national recyclers. It is also collaborating on outreach to create awareness of the issues and solutions for homeowners and other end-users.

And, because end-of-life solar panels often still can have 80-85 percent efficiency remaining if not damaged, this offers technological innovators, and business entrepreneurs, and other organizations the opportunity to explore materials re-use and re-purposing of the panels. ISTC is evaluating current recycling technologies to look for ways to salvage and reuse solar modules. It will also be facilitating partnerships with environmental justice communities in Illinois for repurposing of used panels. Solar panel recycling/repurposing creates thriving economies and the potential for developing specialty jobs in the recycling industry.


Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Recycling and Reuse Program white paper


Solar Recycling Seminars

Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) Seminars

Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Annual Energy Fair

  • June 21, 2019

    Planning for Solar PV End-of-Life Options

    Presented by Nancy Holm, Assistant Director, and Jennifer Martin, Environmental Program Development Specialist, both from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign