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National Green Tribunal had on 4 January 2019 directed the MNRE to prepare a policy for the management of Antimony present in solar glass panels

New Delhi: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has proposed making it mandatory for solar power developers to follow glass recycling procedure for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels under a new framework.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had on 4 January 2019 directed the MNRE to prepare a policy for the management of Antimony present in solar glass panels. Antimony Containing Solar Panel Glass (ACSPG) is used globally to improve the stability of the solar performance of the glass upon exposure to ultraviolet radiation and sunlight.

“Producers may be made responsible for ensuring recycling of end-of-life glass panels as part of their extended responsibility as in the case of e-waste which covers used lead-acid batteries, packaging material, etc,” the ministry said in a concept note. It also added that the power generators will have to ensure environmentally-sound handling of used solar panel waste.

The ministry has given several recommendations regarding the use of Antimony. The note mentions that generators might set up facilities for safe dismantling of used solar panels or should tie-up with an authorised dismantling facility.

The end-of-life solar panels are required to be collected and stored safely until the option for recycling is available. It should never be disposed or dumped in open landfills as it may release Antimony into the environment, MNRE said.

India has witnessed large solar PV installations in the past five to six years. These panels will turn into waste over the next 15-20 years. As the glass in the PV panels is reusable at the end of its life, improper disposal may result in the loss of this recyclable material.

The ministry said other countries including Germany have developed PV recycling technology and Antimony containing glass may be recycled without affecting its properties.

The recycling process of a tonne of PV panels is likely to produce 686 kilogram (kg) of clean glass and 14 Kg of contaminated glass. The recycled glass can be used to produce new panels with Antimony containing glass. However, in case recycling facilities are not available, the concept note stated that the industry should look at the option of disposal in secured landfills or their safe storage.

Source By: www.energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com

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