A Paris-based centre for recycling solar modules has abandoned its operations in PV waste management, citing increasingly difficult regulatory and market conditions.

The European Centre for the Recycling of Solar Energy (CERES) said it had ceased all PV waste activities as of 6 September and would instead focus on research into the field of PV recycling.

The non-profit body said the “increasingly stiffer” environment for PV production in Europe and growing complexities in the market for PV waste management were decisive factors in its decision.

It pledged to expand its commitment to ongoing R&D projects, including research into “cradle-to-cradle” PV design.

Serge Besanger, CERES’ president, said: “CERES started out as a research platform for PV module recycling. This is where we are strong and where we can play a pivotal role in the industry.”

PV Cycle, the pan-European take-back and recycling scheme, will assume all recycling obligations for current CERES members, meaning the disposal and treatment of their modules will be free-of-charge for module owners until December 2013.

CERES was founded in 2011 with the goal of taking back and recycling used PV modules and PV production scrap.

PV modules have been included in the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) since last year. This obliges the 'producers' of PV modules to take back or recycle modules for free, though there is some debate about whether producers are importers or manufacturers.