Solar Panel Recycling Market is Segmented By Panel Type (Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Panels, Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Panels, Thin Film Solar Panels, and Others, Copper Indium Gallium Selenide), By Process (Thermal, Mechanical, Laser, Chemical, and Others), By Shelf Life (Early Loss, Normal Loss, Degradation Loss, and Others), By End User (Residential, Commercial & Industrial, and Utility), By Region (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, and Africa).. The report offers the value (in USD million) for the above-mentioned segments.

Solar Panel Recycling Market Size

Market Size in USD


Study Period2023 - 2030
Base Year of Estimation2022
Fastest Growing MarketNorth America
Largest MarketAsia Pacific
Market ConcentrationHigh
Major PlayersReclaim PV Recycling, Silcontel, Rinovasol, Reiling Glass Recycling, RecyclePV
*Disclaimer: Major players are listed in no particular order.
*Source: Coherent Market Insights
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Solar Panel Recycling Market Analysis

The solar panel recycling market size is expected to reach US$ 1,049.4 Mn by 2030, from US$ 298 Mn in 2023, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.7% during the forecast period.

Solar panel recycling involves the recovery and recycling of materials from end-of-life solar panels. It enables the reclamation of valuable materials, including silicon, silver, copper, aluminum, and glass. Recycling solar panels reduces waste and provides raw materials for manufacturing new solar products.

Growing volume of solar panel waste is a key driver of the market. Supportive government regulations for solar recycling and rising awareness about the benefits of PV recycling are also fueling the market growth. The solar panel recycling market is segmented into panel type, process, shelf life, end user, and region. By panel type, the market is segmented into monocrystalline silicon solar panels, polycrystalline silicon solar panels, thin film solar panels, and others. The monocrystalline silicon solar panels segment is expected to dominate the market owing to its high efficiency and widespread adoption.

Solar Panel Recycling Market Drivers

  • Growing solar PV panel waste volumes: The volume of waste solar panels is rising rapidly due to the growing number of aging and defective solar installations globally. Most solar panels last around 20-25 years before needing recycling. For instance, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the world could face 78 million tons of solar panel waste by 2050. The European Union (EU) alone could see up to 10 million tons of solar waste by then. Managing this massive amount of PV waste is a key driver for the growth of the solar panel recycling industry. Proper recycling infrastructure and services will be required to deal with end-of-life solar panels in an eco-friendly manner.
  • Supportive government regulations and policies: Governments across the world are introducing new regulations and policies to encourage solar panel recycling. The European Union’s (EU) Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive mandates producers to collect and recycle solar panels at end-of-life. Countries like China, Japan, India, and Australia have framed PV recycling targets. Such regulations are compelling companies to adopt eco-friendly solar panel disposal practices. This is fueling the demand for solar recycling services and solutions globally.
  • Environmental benefits of solar panel recycling: Recycling defunct solar panels reduces waste and landfill impact. Recovering the materials also offsets the need for new resource mining. For example, recycling silicon PV panels can cut over 90% of upstream emissions associated with new silicon production. Recycling the metals can lower environmental impact by over 70% compared to mining. These sustainability benefits are incentivizing solar manufacturers, developers and consumers to adopt recycling. This trend will likely to accelerate rising environmental awareness worldwide.
  • Declining solar PV costs: The levelized cost of solar electricity has dropped by over 90% in the last decade, making PV one of the most affordable mainstream energy technologies. This dramatic cost decline has led to exponential growth in solar installations around the world. More panels reaching end-of-life directly translates into a larger recycling market. Moreover, the reduced PV costs are making solar recycling more economically viable for market players in the value chain. Recycling can help recover high value materials, thus offsetting overall recycling costs.

Solar Panel Recycling Market Opportunities

  • Recycling technology innovations: There are immense opportunities for technology innovations to improve solar panel recycling processes. Recycling methods rely heavily on manual labor which has limitations. Automated robotic recycling systems can enhance efficiency and capabilities. For example, Veolia developed a robot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) vision and cutting edge tools to dismantle panels. There is also potential for new chemical leaching techniques that can aid material separation. Such innovations can make solar recycling faster and more cost effective.
  • Integrating blockchain technology: Blockchain platforms have the potential to bring transparency into solar panel recycling. The technology's traceability can track panels from production to end-of-life. This can streamline the reverse logistics that are required for panel collection. Smart contracts can automate payments to recyclers which are based on verified disposal and material recovery. Startups like RecyclingBlack and Circulor (provides a leading solution to industrial, complex supply chain traceability based on AI and Blockchain technology) are already exploring blockchain for battery recycling. Similar use cases can be leveraged for solar panels as well.
  • Collaborations across the PV ecosystem: There are opportunities for collaborations across the solar PV value chain to scale up recycling. Panel manufacturers can partner with recyclers and e-waste companies to establish efficient collection systems. Solar developers can work with recyclers to implement panel take-back programs. Recyclers can team up with researchers to develop next-gen recycling processes. Such partnerships can help address existing recycling challenges through resource and capability sharing. This can accelerate the market growth.
  • Emerging markets: Regions with fast expanding solar markets like Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Africa present huge opportunities for solar panel recycling. These emerging markets will see massive PV waste growth in the near future. Setting up recycling facilities in these geographies can tap into large potential revenue streams. It will also help avoid the logistical issues of transporting waste for overseas recycling. Companies can leverage strategic local partnerships to capitalize on these high growth markets.

Solar Panel Recycling Market Restraints

  • High recycling costs: Solar panel recycling requires significant capital investments in specialized facilities and processing equipment. Complex recycling processes involving shredding, sorting, smelting, and chemical treatments are expensive. The costs are further elevated by the logistics of collecting scattered PV waste from diverse locations. Smaller recyclers also lack economies of scale. The high costs make recycling economically unfeasible, thus the hindering market growth.
  • Low collection rates of defunct panels: Although solar waste is rising, collection rates for end-of-life panels remain low globally, which is estimated at just 10-15%. In the absence of mandatory take-back laws, recyclers face challenges in retrieving panels from decentralized rooftop installations. Consumers also lack awareness on responsible solar waste disposal. Such low collection hinders recyclers from operating optimally and scaling up capacities. This constrains the market growth.
  • Weak policy framework in emerging markets: Recycling regulations remain weak in emerging solar markets like Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Africa. The lack of supportive policies hampers industry development in these regions. Most recycling activity is concentrated in Europe and North America which have progressive laws. Uniform global regulations and mandated recycling targets can encourage new players to enter nascent markets. Policy gaps therefore remain an ongoing restraint.

Solar Panel Recycling Market Analyst Viewpoint

The solar panel recycling market has significant growth potential over the next decade. As solar panel installations continue to increase around the world, particularly in major markets like China, the U.S., and Europe, the volume of decommissioned or damaged panels reaching end of life will grow substantially. This creates a large and steady supply stream for recycling. Europe has been at the forefront of solar panel recycling efforts due to landfill restrictions and waste management regulations, thus driving the recycling rates. However, other regions are also recognizing the value proposition of recycling to address mounting e-waste issue and recover valuable materials like silver, glass, and silicon.

A key driver for the market is the growing emphasis on circular economy practices and sustainability efforts to extract maximum value from waste streams. Solar panel recycling helps recover critical raw materials domestically and lessens dependence on foreign imports. Rising silicon and silver prices also improves the economics of recycling. However, lack of collection infrastructure and standardization of recycling processes hampers scale and cost-efficiency. Higher recycling and transportation costs compared to primary material extraction is a major restraint.

The North American region is expected to witness fastest gains due to upcoming solar panel waste in the U.S. and supporting policies. While Europe will continue dominating, due to regulatory push and mature recycling infrastructure, emerging economies can present lucrative opportunities by investing in scrap collection facilities and technologies to refine materials.