Fees for people who install solar panels are to be introduced to fund the establishment of a recycling system for old panels, officials said on Nov. 23, 2018.
Solar panels are 60 to 90 percent glass, 10 to 15 percent aluminum and 3 percent silicon — which is in the battery — while the rest is made from zinc, silver, copper and lead, said Lai Ying-ying, director-general of the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) Department of Waste Management.
While an industry for recycling waste panels might emerge after 2025 when there is sufficient economic scope, the EPA is in discussions with the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Energy over establishing a system to recycle waste panels, Lai said.
The initial plan is to collect a disposal fee from those who install new panels, she said.
The fee would initially be collected by the bureau, but the EPA would take over after the Waste Disposal Act is amended, Lai said, adding that next month it would announce standards for recycling and storing waste panels, as well as inspection measures.
The bureau would soon amend draft regulations of the Renewable Energy Development Act so that from next year it could start collecting the fees when installations are approved, bureau senior specialist Cheng Ju-min said.
While the nation’s combined solar capacity reached 2,000 megawatts in November, with the weight of panels estimated at 120,000 tonnes, the bureau would not retroactively collect the fee, Cheng said.
However, Chenya Energy Co representative Chang Wei-sheng said that the fee should be paid regardless of when the panels were installed for the sake of equality and so people could show their regard for environmental protection.
Environmentalists urged officials to establish separate standards for thin-film solar cells, which are more challenging to dispose of, and to initiate a “solar circular economy” in the regulations.
Source: Taipei Times
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