• By 2050, India will likely stare at a pile of a new category of electronic waste, namely solar e-waste, says a study made public
  • Currently, India’s e-waste rules have no laws mandating solar cell manufacturers to recycle or dispose waste from this sector.
  • India’s PV (photovoltaic) waste volume is estimated to grow to 200,000 tonnes by 2030 and around 1.8 million tonnes by 2050.
  • India is among the leading markets for solar cells in the world, buoyed by the government’s commitment to install 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
  • So far, India has installed solar cells for about 28 GW and this is largely from imported solar PV cells.
  • Solar cell modules are made by processing sand to make silicon, casting silicon ingots, using wafers to create cells and then assembling them to make modules.
  • India’s domestic manufacturers are largely involved in assembling cells and modules.
  • These modules are 80% glass and aluminium, and non-hazardous.
  • Other materials used, including polymers, metals, metallic compounds and alloys, and are classified as potentially hazardous.
  • India is poorly positioned to handle PV waste as it doesn’t yet have policy guidelines on the same…a lack of a policy framework is coupled with the fact that even basic recycling facilities for laminated glass and e-waste are unavailable.
  • Despite the e-waste regulation being in place for over seven years, only less than 4% of estimated e-waste is recycled in the organised sector as per the latest estimates from the Central Pollution Control Board.
  • While the solar sector continues to grow robustly, there is no clarity on solar waste management in India.