Critical assessment of renewable energy waste generation in OECD countries: decommissioned PV panels

Sajjad Mahmoudi, Nazmul Huda*, Masud Behnia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Rigorous deployment of photovoltaic panels has resulted in an exponential increase in the volume of discarded panels, which impose serious and crucial challenges to the management of end-of-life (EoL) PV modules. Most OECD countries have not yet taken considerable steps to tackle this growing challenge. This paper projected the PV waste stream from the year 2001 to the year 2058, based on the historical PV installation in OECD countries using Weibull function and implementation of two forecasting scenarios of early-loss and regular loss. The significance of the findings reveal that the cumulative volume of the waste is estimated to vary from 25 to 28.5 Million Tons (MT) breaking down to the major waste flow such as base and special metals (4.58 MT) and other metals (2.37 MT), followed by nonmetal waste (25.69 MT) including glass and EVA by 68% and 26% respectively. There are a few countries which meet the minimum annual PV waste of 20 Kilo Tons (KT) between 2026 and 2027 to establish the treatment business solely; however, few few countries do not meet the minimum waste generation level until 2032 and have to join other member countries to run a joined treatment program. The gross value creation of the recovered waste materials (Billion USD 36–42) disclosed a very promising vision that would be an attractive incentive to involve all parties. Finally, proactive policy and management strategy are required to create new economic avenues to prosper competitive markets on the recovered materials leading to environmental and economic sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105145
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • OECD
  • PV waste stream
  • Photovoltaic waste
  • WEEE
  • End-of-life PV panels


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