Solar module return rate is close to 100 percent


Zurich – Almost all photovoltaic modules installed in Switzerland are recycled at the end of their service life. This is implemented by SENS eRecyling. The privately organized foundation works with a large network of providers for this purpose.

Photovoltaic modules installed in Switzerland are almost all sent for recycling at the end of their service life, informs SENS eRecycling in a statement. The foundation, which is organized in the private sector, relieves its partners at manufacturers and importers of the work involved. According to SENS eRecycling, this system benefits manufacturers, importers, homeowners and the environment.

The price of a solar system already includes an advanced recycling fee. This is currently 40 francs per ton, explains SENS eRecycling. However, the foundation itself currently spends around 440 Swiss francs per ton on collection, transport and recycling. “The financing of the system only works because the current volumes of installed photovoltaic systems continue to significantly exceed the amount of discarded material, and thus the fund continues to accumulate year after year,” the statement said. For 2035, SENS eRecycling expects to have to dispose of as many as 70,000 tons of photovoltaic modules.

According to the foundation, the quantities currently being generated are also too small to make recycling worthwhile for disposal companies in Switzerland itself. SENS eRecycling is therefore currently working together with KWB Plan Real GmbH. The German company has the modules dismantled at a recycling plant near the Swiss border. Metals can be fully recycled, the glass is used together with the silicon to produce glass wool. In this way, around three quarters of the raw materials can currently be returned to the cycle, according to SENS eRecycling. hs