Comprehensive Review of Crystalline Silicon Solar Panel Recycling: From Historical Context to Advanced Techniques

Pin Han Chen, Wei Sheng Chen, Cheng Han Lee, Jun Yi Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This review addresses the growing need for the efficient recycling of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules (PVMs), in the context of global solar energy adoption and the impending surge in end-of-life (EoL) panel waste. It examines current recycling methodologies and associated challenges, given PVMs’ finite lifespan and the anticipated rise in solar panel waste. The study explores various recycling methods—mechanical, thermal, and chemical—each with unique advantages and limitations. Mechanical recycling, while efficient, faces economic and environmental constraints. Thermal methods, particularly pyrolysis, effectively break down organic materials but are energy-intensive. Chemical processes are adept at recovering high-purity materials but struggle with ecological and cost considerations. The review also highlights multifaceted challenges in recycling, including hazardous by-product generation, environmental impact, and the economic feasibility of recycling infrastructures. The conclusion emphasizes the need for innovative, sustainable, and economically viable recycling technologies. Such advancements, alongside global standards and policy development, are crucial for the long-term sustainability of solar energy and effective management of PVM waste.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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