How to Properly Dispose of or Recycle Solar Panels

Matt Keane
April 8, 2024

Solar panels are a great way to generate clean and renewable energy for your home or business. They can help you save money on your electricity bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and increase the value of your property.

But what happens when your solar panels reach the end of their lifespan, or get damaged or malfunction? How do you get rid of them safely and responsibly?

Solar panels are made of various materials, such as glass, aluminium, silicon, copper, and plastic. Some of these materials can be recycled, while others may pose environmental or health risks if not handled properly.

In this blog post, we will explain how to properly dispose of or recycle solar panels in Ireland, and why it is important to do so.

So, let's get started!

Why Should You Dispose of or Recycle Solar Panels?

Solar panels are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your electricity bills. However, they also have some environmental impacts that need to be considered.

According to a study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the global solar photovoltaic (PV) waste could reach 78 million tonnes by 2050. 

This waste could contain hazardous substances, such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic, which could leach into the soil and water if not disposed of properly.

On the other hand, recycling solar panels can have many benefits, such as:

  • Conserving natural resources: Recycling solar panels can recover valuable materials, such as glass, aluminium, and silicon, that can be reused for making new products. This can reduce the need for mining and extracting new raw materials, which can save energy and water, and prevent environmental degradation.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Recycling solar panels can also reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and disposal of solar panels. For example, recycling one tonne of silicon can save 8 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, compared to producing new silicon from quartz.
  • Creating green jobs: Recycling solar panels can create new employment opportunities in the green economy. According to IRENA, the global PV recycling industry could employ up to 120,000 people by 2030, and up to 600,000 people by 2050.

How to Dispose of or Recycle Solar Panels in Ireland?

There are several methods and options available for solar panel disposal or recycling, depending on the type, size, and condition of your solar panels. Here are some of the most common and recommended ways to get rid of your solar panels in Ireland:

Giving them to recycling companies

Recycling companies play a crucial role in the proper disposal of solar panels. They have the expertiseequipment, and facilities to handle solar panel waste safely and efficiently.

They can also offer you a fair price for your solar panels, depending on their quality and quantity. Recycling companies can either collect your solar panels from your location, or you can deliver them to their premises.

One of the leading recycling companies in Ireland that specialises in solar panel recycling is WEEE Ireland, a non-profit organisation that manages the recycling of electronic waste, including solar panels.

They have partnered with PV Cycle, a European organisation that specialises in the recycling of photovoltaic (PV) waste, to bolster Ireland’s recycling capabilities.

This partnership means that WEEE Ireland can now offer waste take-back services for PV waste, including solar panels, as well as household and dual-use electrical and electronic applianceswaste batteries, and lighting equipment.

To recycle your solar panels with WEEE Ireland, you can either contact them directly, or use their online platform to find a collection point near you.

You can also check their website for more information on their services, fees, and requirements.

Taking them to hazardous waste collection facilities

To properly dispose of solar panels, one option is to take them to hazardous waste collection facilities. These are designated sites where you can drop off your solar panel waste for safe disposal.

They are usually operated by local authorities or private companies, and they follow strict regulations and compliance requirements to ensure that the process is carried out safely and responsibly.

However, not all hazardous waste collection facilities accept solar panel waste, so you need to check with them before you bring your solar panels. You also need to make sure that you pack your solar panels properly to avoid any damage or leakage during transportation.

You may also need to pay a fee for the disposal service, depending on the facility and the amount of waste you have.

To find a hazardous waste collection facility near you, you can use the online tool provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ireland.

You can also contact your local authority or waste management company for more information on the availability and conditions of this service.

Returning them to solar energy manufacturing companies

Another option for disposing of or recycling solar panels is to return them to the solar energy manufacturing companies that produced them. Some of these companies offer take-back schemes or incentives for their customers who want to get rid of their old or damaged solar panels.

They can either collect your solar panels from your location, or you can send them back to their premises. They can then reuse or recycle the materials from your solar panels to make new ones.

However, not all solar energy manufacturing companies offer this option, so you need to check with them before you decide to return your solar panels. You also need to make sure that you follow their instructions and guidelines on how to pack and ship your solar panels.

You may also need to pay for the transportation or handling costs, depending on the company and the type of service they offer.

To find out if your solar energy manufacturing company offers a take-back scheme or incentive for solar panel disposal or recycling, you can contact them directly or visit their website.

You can also check the warranty or guarantee documents that came with your solar panels for more information on this option.


Solar panels are a great way to generate clean and renewable energy, but they also need to be disposed of or recycled properly when they reach the end of their lifespan. Disposing of or recycling solar panels properly can prevent environmental and health risksconserve natural resourcesreduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create green jobs.

If you have solar panels that you want to dispose of or recycle in Ireland, you can either contact the producer or importer of your solar panels and ask them to take them back for recycling, or bring them to the nearest waste management facility that accepts solar panels. 

In both cases, you should receive a certificate of recycling that confirms that your solar panels have been recycled in accordance with the WEEE Directive and other relevant standards and regulations.

If you need any help with your solar energy project, contact us at BuildTech. We can advise you on the best way to dispose of or recycle your solar panels, and offer you competitive prices and quality service.

Contact us today!

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.

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