How Do You Dispose of Old Solar Equipment?


Disposing of solar equipment isn’t really something that’s become a common issue yet. Solar power is a relatively new technology—especially for widespread residential use—and most solar equipment that’s been installed hasn’t reached the end of its usable life yet. However, that’s bound to happen eventually. Most solar equipment is designed to last about 30 years, so when the time finally comes to retire your solar equipment, what will happen to it? How do you dispose of it? Keep reading to learn more.


Solar Inverters

Solar inverters tend to have a shorter estimated lifespan than the solar panels themselves, but most will still last you close to 20 years. When the time does come to replace, the solar company you purchase your new inverter from can likely assist with disposing of the old one. Some companies provide a take-back and recycling program for these products. If you can’t find one in your area, and the company you’re purchasing your new inverter from can’t help you get rid of the old inverter, you can dispose of it as you would any old electronics.


Solar Batteries

If you have a battery bank for solar energy storage, these are likely to burn out before any of your other solar equipment. Most batteries have a lifespan somewhere between 10 and 15 years. Solar batteries can be disposed of in the same way as old car batteries; you’ll likely want to contact the waste management office in your city to find out where you can dispose of batteries.


If you can, look for a place that can recycle your batteries instead of just throwing them away for you. Many cities will have to recycle boxes for batteries instead of just special waste drop-off locations. You may also consider contacting an automotive store, as these locations often handle battery disposal and recycling.


Solar Panels

The photovoltaic panels themselves are the longest-lasting piece of equipment on this list, and they’ll last you upwards of 30 years. When the time rolls around to get rid of your old solar panels, it’s a good idea to speak to your contractor about getting help disposing of them. Again, the individuals installing your new panels will often be happy to deal with hauling away and recycling those panels for you.


And, yes, solar panels can be recycled! Or at least, most of their parts can be. The metal framing, glass, and wires are easily recycled for other purposes. The silicon cells themselves can be a bit tougher. Recycling solar panels is still in its early stages, but some specialty recycling companies can melt down silicon cells and reclaim the various metals and silicon inside them.


When it comes time to dispose of your old solar panels, grid-tie inverter, and batteries, make sure you recycle them properly!