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Enabling a Circular Economy in India’s Solar Industry: Assessing the Solar Waste Quantum Report

Why is it in the news?

  • The “Enabling a Circular Economy in India’s Solar Industry: Assessing the Solar Waste Quantum” report is a collaboration between the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) under the NITI Aayog Action Plan for Circular Economy (CE) – Solar Panels.

More about the news

  • India’s solar industry, with an installed capacity of 7 GW as of FY23, has generated approximately 100 kilotons (kt) of waste, and this cumulative waste is projected to increase to 600 kt by 2030.
  • Solar waste contains critical minerals such as silicon, copper, tellurium, and cadmium, the recycling of which could reduce import dependency. It also contains toxic metals like lead and cadmium, posing environmental and health risks, as well as economically valuable metals like silver and silicon.
  • Recommendations include maintaining a comprehensive database of installed solar capacity to accurately map waste generation centres, urging solar cell and module producers to develop waste collection and storage centres to comply with E-waste Management Rules 2022, and promoting safe recycling and recovery from solar waste.
Initiatives for Circular Economy in India’s Solar Energy Sector

·       Report on Circular Economy in Solar Panels to NITI Aayog

·       Solar PV cells made part of Electronic Waste (Management) Rules 2022

·       Solar PV recycling as priority thrust area under Renewable Energy Research and Technology Development (RE-RTD) Programme.


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