New research looks at how to manage future solar panel waste in Australia

Solar installations on rooftops is a booming industry, but solar panels don’t last forever. If not properly managed, solar panel waste could be a future hazardous problem in Australia over the coming decades, researchers from Griffith University warn. Rooftop solar has boomed in the country in both an effort to control energy costs and help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. However, these panels have a limited shelf-life. Solar panels last for an average of 20 years. As energy-saving and eco-friendly solar power can be, current solar generation methods are not waste-free. The reason is that solar photovoltaic (PV) panels have a shelf-life. Presently, once these panels have run their course, very little of these panels can be recycled, meaning that most of this material winds up in a landfill. on average, solar panels typically last for 20 years, with lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries (the most commonly used batteries for solar energy storage) lasting between five and 15 years.Many solar panels have already been retired. However, battery waste is expected to increase significantly in 2025.

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