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JPEA Makes Guidelines for Treatment of Substances Contained in Solar Panels

2017/12/21 17:43
Sousuke Kudou, technical writer
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Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA) publicized the "Guidelines for Proving Information for Proper Treatment of Used Solar Cell Modules (first edition)" Dec 11, 2017.

The guidelines encourage solar panel manufacturers and sellers to provide information on contained chemical substances in advance. They made it easier for business operators that remove and dispose of panels to obtain information for appropriate treatment.

Since the feed-in tariff (FIT) policy was implemented in 2012, the total capacity of installed solar power generation systems has drastically increased, causing an issue of future smooth treatment of the systems at the time of disposal.

The laws on the treatment and cleaning of waste require business operators that dispose of industrial waste to provide information necessary for appropriate treatment to waste treatment companies. Also, according to the results of an actual condition survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, many local governments, business operators that dispose of industrial waste and waste treatment companies asked for provision of information.

Amid such situations, JPEA compiled the guidelines for providing information for appropriate treatment of solar panels, which are the core component of solar power generation systems. They show how to provide information about the inclusion of four chemical substances that are used for solar panels and can cause environmental loads (lead, cadmium, arsenic and selenium).

The inclusion of the four substances is shown in a defined way if the content rate is higher than 0.1wt%. The content rate is calculated by dividing the amount of substance contained in a component (frame, screw, cable or laminate) by the mass of the component.

As for the method to provide information, information needs to be provided on a website, considering that displayed information can deteriorate when written outdoors such as on a roof because solar panels are used for a long period of time. According to the guidelines, it is desirable that products shipped in and after 2012 show information if the content rate exceeds the standard.