Photovoltaic panels waste in the light of new regulations

24 october 2022
The Ministry of Climate is working on changes in the collection of used photovoltaic panels; the draft regulation on this matter has recently been submitted to public consultations. The first comments from the industry and business insiders have been filled in

In light of the regulations, a producer who introduces photovoltaic panels to the market is also obliged to take care of waste management related to the installation. Such an obligation is regulated by the provision on the minimum annual level of waste equipment collection,  a failure to meet such a requirement may result in high penalties for producers, calculated proportionally for each ton of waste below the assumed level of recovery.

The problem with the aforementioned provision was related to the much longer life cycle of photovoltaic panels, which is why the legislator assumed exclusion from the category of electrical and electronic equipment in the draft regulation.

According to the draft regulation, the collection level of waste from used photovoltaic panels will be calculated on the basis of the amount of waste in this category in the whole country in a given year.

Entrepreneurs argue that the mere fact that the legislator has focused on the problem of waste from photovoltaic panels is optimistic; however, they forecast manufacturers' problems with meeting the requirements.

The new regulations are to come into force at the beginning of 2023. However, the producers already have signed contracts on the basis of which they have already planned the waste-collection obligation for next year. This can result in a number of complications

not to mention the controversy about the calculations themselves. The obligatory amount of waste from photovoltaic panels to be collected by the producer will have to be determined on the basis of forecasts. Forecasts by their very nature, may not be 100% accurate. The target panels mass introduced to the market in a given year will be known by the year end; thus, they may not be able to fulfil the obligation imposed by the legislator.  

Entrepreneurs suggest that the average annual weight of panels placed on the market in the last three years preceding the settlement year should be used for the calculations.

According to the assumptions, the regulation will enter into force on 1 January 2023.

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