Key Step in Solar Module Recycling

Italy becomes the first major PV market to implement the EU recast WEEE Directive (2012/19/EU) to ensure the correct treatment of waste of electrical and electronic equipment. (Photo: TR  /

Based on the notion of “Extended Producer Responsibility”, the legislative decree number 49/2014 defines “Producers” as comprising all companies or individuals located in Italy and manufacturing and selling, reselling under their own trademark or importing PV modules. Producers must now finance the transport and recycling of the PV modules they sell in Italy.

“As the leading European PV take-back and recycling organization, we have been preparing for the national implementation of this Directive since it was adopted in 2012, when we opened our Milan office”, said PV Cycle Italia Country Manager, Ilaria D’Angelo. “As an initiative driven by the PV industry, we realized very soon we needed to set up a one-stop-shop solution to facilitate companies operating in Italy to meet their new legal obligations.”

Fully functioning system

Besides organizing and financing the take-back and recycling of PV modules, the new requirements include joining a National Register and communicating yearly the quantity of PV modules sold. Producers must place a symbol of a crossed-out wheelie bin on their modules to inform their customers of disposing the discarded PV modules separately from other waste. They also must inform end-customers about how the collection is organized and treatment facilities about the potential use of dangerous substances in order to facilitate the recycling. A last important requirement for each Producer is the financial guarantee. To comply with EU targets, from 2016 Italy has committed to collect 45 per cent of EEE sold, a figure which will rise to 65 per cent from 2019.

Part of a large pan-European PV waste management network operating since 2010, PV Cycle Italia offers a fully functioning system capable of covering all PV WEEE obligations. Due to a large membership base, it offers modern and cost-efficient services that allow companies to minimise spillover costs that could affect the price paid by end-customers. “Being exclusively focused on the management of PV modules, we knew right away that WEEE would have a profound impact on the PV sector. Our country offices and local partnerships help us better understand how to serve national Producers under this new WEEE environment”, said Jan Clyncke, Managing Director of PV Cycle, the European organization under which PV Cycle Italia operates. “Our mission is to help small and large Producers to comply in the quickest, most efficient and competitive way possible.”