The Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs has cooperated with the EPA to collect recycling and clearance fees for photovoltaic modules. It announced on 1 February 2019 the 2019 Renewable Electricity Wholesale Purchase Rates and Calculation Method, which also sets the recycling fee for photovoltaic modules at NT$1,000/kw. The collected fees are to be used for the EPA to establish the waste solar panel recycling system or to subsidize clearance and processing, administration, technology research and development and establishment of processing plants.
The lifespan of solar panels is 20 years, and currently no large amounts of waste panels are being generated. The EPA is running a demonstration program in which waste solar panels are accumulated until they reach a certain amount before being disposed of and processed. Entities that have installed solar panels or people that have waste panels can follow the four steps to recycle them: ask, gather, fill out, and collect; that is, they can call the dedicated line, 03-8520009, to ask first, gather the waste panels, and then dispose of the panels themselves or commission a qualified public or private waste clearance organization to do so. Alternatively, they can go to the Waste Solar Panels Recycling Service Management Information platform (https://pvis.epa.gov.tw) to register relevant panel decommissioning information. After the serial numbers and the installation information are checked, a licensed clearance and processing organization will be deployed to dispose of them. In addition, households or low-volume users such as camper vans can also call the dedicated line or ask their local cleaning squad to dispose of them.
Currently, there are two licensed processing plants capable of processing waste solar panels in Taiwan. They mainly use a mechanical process to crush the panels and then send the fragments to Japan to be used as slagging agents in copper smelters. In the future, the EPA will continue to monitor the generation of waste solar panels as well as the domestic processing and recycling capacities, so it can plan for the establishment of new waste solar panel processing facilities or assess the feasibility of technology transfers to respond to the rising demand for disposal of waste solar panels in the future.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, June 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)