A meeting of Solar panels manufacturers was organised by Malaviya Solar Energy Consultancy on 5th June 2023 at Surat to debate on the Solar panels and cells that are part of E-waste guidelines effective 1st April 2023, perhaps a first such since the mandatory guidelines came in force.
Industry (Producers) welcomed this step by the government and agreed to extend their support however the regulations need clarity. Some of the grey areas are life of Soalr panels identified, specifying the conversion factor to analyse the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates, benefits of EPR certificates and of they can be on monetary form, where to store the panels until 2033-34 as mandated, will producers be incentivised who adopt recycling and will insurance companies take liability as Producers if they fail during insurance period?
As there are currently no authorised recyclers government can reserve dedicated funding for Solar panel and cells recycling as part of Atmanirbhar and encourage entrepreneurs and start-ups to come up with domestic solutions.
Producers also had a consensus that instead of keeping liability of recycling with them until end-of-life the costs can be recovered at the time of sale of the panels by way of a defined cess. Malaviya Solar Energy had in its recommendation proposed a similar step and create a centra pool of funds to meet the recycling expenses. This will ensure no burden on the producers as well as government and even orphan panels can be taken care. Further they also suggested to do a study to identify the cost of recycled metals year on year post recycling in order to estimate the cost of recycling that will be useful to arrive at the proposed cess figure.
Finally to manage the entire process of Solar panels and cell as Circular Economy a pan-India body will soon be formed that will be a catalyst with recyclers and policy makers.