PV companies should wait until February of next year before signing contracts for recycling or for the provision of services aimed at meeting the revised directive of the European Council on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), says German electronic waste services firm Take-e-way.

Photovoltaic modules will be added next year to the WEEE Directive for the European Council. Its German conversion is known as the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. It is anticipated that as a result, the recycling market for PV will be opened up to greater competition. Take-e-way argues that PV manufacturers should take advantage of the best possible offers from recycling and related service providers by not already being bound to contracts.

Manufacturers and importers as well as distributors are expected to be affected by the changes, with typical notice periods for currently held contracts expected to expire at the end of the year. The WEEE Directive extends the scope of responsibility to manufacturers and producers of electrical and electronic goods to take care of disposal or recycling of their products at the end of their lifespan.

In each national market within the European Union, each company is responsible for disposing of a share of waste equivalent to that company’s share of the domestic market. In other words, a company in Germany which has contributed a 10% share of new solar panels into the German market will be assigned a 10% share of collection and disposal contracts within Germany.

Among European Council members, only the UK has thus far operated a free market approach to legal compliance with the WEEE Directive with Germany set to join in February 2014.

Take-e-way’s lobbying group, the VERE Association, will present the lecture, ‘Recycling of PV modules’ at the Round Table of the Economic Chamber, Vienna on 6 November.

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