TASK — 12

Status of PV Module Take-Back and Recycling in Germany

Photovoltaics plays a crucial role in Germany’s energy transition as one of the world’s leading PV installers. The country faces significant challenges in managing the end-of-life of PV systems, especially as it targets up to 400 GWp of installations by 2040, underscoring the need for enhanced recycling infrastructure. This report sheds light on the complexities of PV end-of-life management in Germany, offering suggestions for sustainability enhancements and establishing a benchmark for global PV waste management practices.

The main authors have identified the following 3 Key Takeaways from the report:

  • Pioneering Challenges in EOL Management: It is important to analyze the situation in Germany because it is the first country to support widespread adoption of PV modules, and therefore is expected to be the first to experience larger EOL volumes.
  • Pathways to Improvement: Although some major challenges to the successful implementation of a functioning take-back and recycling system have been identified, this report also found promising approaches for further improvements.
  • Global Insights and Lessons: While specific to an analysis of the situation in Germany, this report is hoped to offer useful lessons for other countries in advance of their own expected rise in EOL volumes.