On March 25, 2021, the European-Ukrainian Energy Agency (EUEA) organized and held webinar on «Solar PV Waste Management in Ukraine».

The purpose of the webinar was to discuss the following questions:

– what are the current modern global trends of solar PV panels recycling and how it occurs in Ukraine;

– how to avoid creating a gray market of solar PV panel recycling;

– what business recycling model may be suitable for Ukraine.

Taking into account, that Ukraine has made a big step towards the development of renewable energy sector (RES), and since 2015 the share of solar generation in Ukraine has increased by 7.5 times, which is currently 6094 MW of installed capacity at the end of 2020, according to NPC “Ukrenergo”, a significant amount of electrical waste should also be expected in the future. The introduction of waste management mechanism for solar photovoltaic modules, in addition to fulfilling the EU requirements under the signed EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, can help to create a circular economy, reducing the usage of materials during production, as well as job creating and investments attracting.

Yuriy Boyko, Deputy Minister of Energy of Ukraine, noted in his speech the importance of the webinar and that the Ministry of Energy is ready to actively participate in the development of relevant legislation, also he added that the topic of waste management is relevant not only for solar energy, but for wind too.

Iaroslav Cheker, Adviser, Head of Energy and Natural Resources Practice of Law Firm Arzinger, noted that the Draft Law on Electronic and Electrical Waste was submitted to the Committee on Ukraine’s European Union Integration, which, according to the Committee, “generally complies with Ukraine’s obligations under the Association Agreement and European Union legislation, but needs to be finalized”. However, the Bill has not yet been adopted.

“As for the mechanism of recycling of electrical waste in the EU, applies the principle of “extended producer responsibility”, according to which all producers are responsible for the collection, processing and control of goods they sell and distribute in the EU, regardless where their plants are located”, – said Antoine Chalaux, Commercial Director of ROSI.

Dmytro Nechyporenko, Board Member  of  EUEA,  Business Development Director of Voltage Group, said in his speech that the right mechanism for waste management after decommissioning of solar panels, and in particular the entire solar power plant (SPP) will contribute to the sustainable development of solar energy. “Not only as an EPC company, but also as an SPP operator, we often get questions about the future of the land on which SPP is located, the equipment in the complex of the entire SPP after its decommissioning. We need to understand how to act in the nearest future, despite the fact that the solar market is relatively young in Ukraine, but many SPPs have been built from previously used solar panels, brought from Europe. And this webinar is interesting to better understand the regulatory mechanisms and the economic effect of implementing waste management mechanism for photovoltaic solar modules”.

According to IRENA “if the recycled and remanufactured PV panel components bring back to life systematically, the global economy will receive an additional $ 15 billion by 2050”, but this requires the development of new economic models on state-level regarding waste management and the implementation of appropriate legislation.

Francescantonio Della Rosa, Managing Director of La Mia Energia, spoke about the composition of the panels and the process of their recycling in his presentation. In particular, speaker explained that photovoltaic solar panels consist of 90% glass, aluminum, copper and some polymers, which are non-hazardous waste but are difficult to recycle. The other 10% of the component is trace elements represented by silver, silicon, tin, lead, etc. (depending on the type of panel), which cannot be removed without dismantling the panel itself. For example, lead can cause environmental problems if it is leached into soil and groundwater.

Alina Sviderska, General Manager of Scatec in Ukraine, shared the company’s experience of recycling solar panels in Ukraine, noting that the costs of solar panel waste management were lied on them – investors/power plant owners – and they are expecting the relevant legislation in Ukraine to be adopted in compliance with EU requirements.

Oleksandra Gumeniuk, Director of EUEA, mentioned in her speech, that as an association of leading renewable energy companies from around the world, EUEA is trying to raise topics and issues for the discussion and searching the solution not only for the present but also of the rapidly approaching future. Currently, the RES industry in Ukraine is not experiencing best times, the stage of rapid construction of RES power plants has moved to a slower mode, in some places even suspended, and needs urgent decisions regarding debts payments for RES electricity producers. “In order not to lose economic benefits from the development of the waste recycling sector, including electrical, as well as to avoid additional waste accumulation and negative impact on the environment from electrical waste, it is necessary for Ukraine to develop and implement relevant legislation concerning experience of EU”,- Oleksandra Gumeniuk said.

In conclusion, all the speakers noted that it is not too late and it is necessary to develop the relevant legal framework as soon as possible and to establish an economic mechanism for the processing of electrical waste in Ukraine. Such decisions will lead to economic and environmental benefits, including further sustainable development of the renewable energy sector.

We invite you to watch the webinar record:


Speaker presentations: https://cutt.ly/SxAwKVE 

Thank you for participating!