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Over $0.6/W! Why are waste PV modules so sought after?

Under the environment of China's dual-carbon strategy, the photovoltaic industry in China has been developing rapidly in recent years, and has long become the world's largest producer of photovoltaic modules and solar power generation country. Because PV modules, i.e. solar PV panels, have a design life, in the next few years, there will be a large number of PV modules retired or abandoned in China.

According to CCTV reporter's research, the abandoned PV module is very hot, the price can be close to 0.6 yuan / W. The current stage of the PV module needs to be sold for the price of 0.5 yuan!

At this stage, the abandoned photovoltaic module needs to be dominated by more than 3 years of substandard products. Because 182/210mm parts first from 2021 to start large-scale application, waste PV modules should usually be 166mm specifications, each output power in 440W up and down.

As can be seen from the above chart, the acquirer gradually price 0.5 yuan / W up and down, about 200 to the dollar, converted to each more than 400 W. If according to the last 300 yuan / block recovery, the market price exceeds the 0.6 yuan / W!

Recently, along with the PV module prices fell significantly, positive A single crystal PERC component prices are even in the following 0.9 yuan / W, recycling component prices are so high, in the end, what will happen? Please see the CCTV reporter research! The reporter found in the study, now waste photovoltaic module recycling sales market is very hot. This discarded PV modules properly handled, can be recycled, but if not properly handled, will also bring serious adverse effects to the natural environment. Why is the recycling sale of waste PV modules so hot? Where do they go? General Service Desk reporter field visits. Small-scale processing plant hidden village resource waste phenomenon, ecological and environmental problems are widespread on the Internet, the reporter saw a large number of acquisition of discarded PV modules data. According to the clues, the reporter came to a village on the outskirts of Huixian, Xinxiang City, Henan Province. In a hanging in the courtyard of Huixian City Heng Yu paper products factory factory, the corner of the wall stacked two or three piles of photovoltaic panels have long been removed from the outer frame of the photovoltaic panels only. Entrance is a pile of dissolved finished photovoltaic panels, the plant emits choking gray and black soot.

It is understood that this small plant from the recycler side to buy back the waste PV components, then enter the disposal process. The key is to dismantle the aluminum alloy frame and junction box, the following to carry out incineration, from the dismantling after the single piece of silicon and its silver-containing and other metal raw materials.

For this treatment method, the relevant experts pointed out, "EVA adhesive paper and side panels in the refining production process is very good after the recycled particles. Small factory processing methods rude, simple production, will lose the raw materials in the production and manufacturing process, resulting in a waste of resources."

In the investigation, the reporter found that in addition to the low recycling rate, this small processing plant also has environmental pollution problems. A processing station leader from the provinces said, photovoltaic components of the incineration, the solution will cause secondary pollution, can not be done in the provinces, and thus he and a number of fellow townsmen rushed to Henan Province, the village project to invest in the construction of the processing plant. In the village of a closed large iron gate courtyard, the reporter saw piles of disassembled photovoltaic panels only. White tin built simple shed, a large incinerator has been burning things, the furnace has long been blackened. In addition to the choking smoke produced by the incineration, the reporter also smelled an unpleasant odor in the yard, tin plate firm up the wall, the ground a few pools, is the top of the smoke, the ground is wastewater.

Doctors introduced, from the simple incineration of the whole process, this factory production line smoke manipulation or environmental safety management is not up to standard. Ignition of waste gas produced by the lack of relevant collection and processing equipment, soot and no corresponding equipment to solve the air will float into particulate matter, it is easy to produce haze and so on.

Reporter investigation found that such small factories, small workshops are not a few, there is a general problem of environmental pollution and low recycling rate. But the boss said, they produce something very sought-after, "the photovoltaic components for incineration, processing and even ash can be sold out, because it contains silver." It turns out that dismantling and incineration produce only roughly processed raw materials, which will also be sold to some downstream manufacturers to further purify and extract silver and higher purity silicon, etc.. Once improperly disposed of, it will cause serious pollution of soil and groundwater, more harmful. Formal enterprises "no rice under the pot" PV module recycling industry related policies still need to be improved at present, some formal recycling enterprises have begun the waste PV module recycling work. NDT Group Photovoltaic Energy Storage Industry Innovation Center staff, their crystalline silicon PV module recycling pilot line, aluminum frames, junction boxes, cables and other materials recovery rate can reach 100%, silver, glass, welding tape and other materials recovery rate can reach more than 90%, silicon cells through the cleaning and purification, silicon purity can reach 99.93%.

Recycling and processing production line like this not only has a high recycling rate, but also meets the high standard of environmental protection requirements. However, a lot of PV recycling of formal enterprises, are now faced with "no rice under the pot" of the embarrassing situation, most of the time the equipment is in an idle state. Ltd. General Manager Zhu Jie: Now the waste PV components have basically been small workshops or some hoarders, at a relatively high price to take away. Compared to large enterprises, why the humble workshop can open a higher purchase price, occupy more recycling channels and sources? In this regard, some practitioners said, "small workshops are only concerned about whether they can produce more valuable things, do not consider the cost of environmental protection, in the case of environmental protection to avoid regulation of the province's processes. In contrast, the formal enterprise environmental costs are higher, it is difficult to open the same purchase price." PV module recycling and reuse market prospects are huge, but to truly form a green closed loop of the PV industry chain, but also need to continue to improve the relevant policies and standards to guide and regulate the recycling and processing industry.

In July 2023, the National Development and Reform Commission and other departments jointly issued the "Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Recycling of Decommissioned Wind Power and Photovoltaic Equipment", which requires accelerating the construction of a waste recycling system and promoting the recycling of decommissioned wind power and photovoltaic equipment. However, there is no special management policy dedicated to the recycling of waste photovoltaic modules. Photovoltaic is green energy, photovoltaic industry is also a green industry, but this industrial chain to form a green closed loop, can not be separated from the photovoltaic module after the retreat of environmental protection recycling. At present, China's photovoltaic module recycling industry is still in its infancy, there is an urgent need to improve the relevant policies and standards. In the output of green energy at the same time, pay more attention to the whole chain of environmental protection, reduce the impact on the environment, the photovoltaic industry can realize the green low-carbon sustainable development.

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