China’s ageing solar panels are going to be a big environmental problem 

Tallbloke's Talkshop


What to do with millions of tons of retired solar panels? Answers on a postcard to China.

China will have the world’s worst problem with ageing solar panels in less than two decades, according to a recent industry estimate, as South China Morning Post reports.

Lu Fang, secretary general of the photovoltaics division in the China Renewable Energy Society, wrote in an article circulating on mainland social media this month that the country’s cumulative capacity of retired panels would reach up to 70 gigawatts (GW) by 2034.

That is three times the scale of the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower project, by power production.

By 2050 these waste panels would add up to 20 million tonnes, or 2,000 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower, according to Lu.

“In fair weather, prepare for foul,” she warned.

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