China to build solar recycling system by 2025

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China’s installed capacity of solar power reached over 470GW in Q1 2023. Credit: EDP

China has announced a plan to establish a recycling system for retired solar PV panels.

In an announcement by the National Development and Reform Commission, China is targeting to build up a mechanism for disposing of decommissioned equipment in solar PV plants by 2025. It is also aiming to improve relevant standards and specifications for the recycling of decommissioned solar PV and wind power equipment.

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By 2030, the commission also aims to mature the full-process recycling system for solar PV plants, effectively matching the resource recycling capacity and decommissioning scale. By the same year, China is also targeting to establish a retired solar PV equipment and wind power equipment recycling industry cluster.

In the meantime, solar PV manufacturers and companies are required to handle the retired equipment, including components, and are not allowed to dump decommissioned equipment in landfill sites.

In addition to encouraging solar PV manufacturers to proactively recycle decommissioned solar modules, the Chinese government also supports third-party recycling companies to carry out the recycling business of decommissioned solar PV equipment.

The commission also said it will “steadily promote the development of solar PV module re-manufacturing industries”, and will focus on re-manufacturing key components such as solar PV inverters.

According to statistics from China’s national energy administration, China’s total installed capacity of solar power has reached over 470GW in the first half of 2023, higher than other energy sources. In the same period, China invested RMB134.9 billion (US$18.87 billion) in solar energy generation, representing a year-on-year increase of 113.6%.

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