Australia reached 10,000 MW of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 20181 with the vast majority coming from small rooftop systems. 

As a population we’re making a significant step towards a more sustainable energy generation mix in Australia. But, what happens to these rooftop systems when they’re decommissioned?

By 2040 it is expected that the panel waste of these decommissioned panels could be between 300,000 and 450,000 tonnes. So, it’s clear that several actions are needed to ensure clean energy does not come at the expense of responsible consumption and production.

This report explores the opportunities presented by the circular economy for the photovoltaic industry in Australia by analysing the current state of play of the industry and the circular economy, outlining how circular business models could apply to the lifecycle of a photovoltaic panel, and recommending ways forward for industry stakeholders. 

It is our aim, through this report, to stimulate leadership and collaboration in the industry on its inevitable transition towards a circular economy.

1 Australian PV Institute, 2018, Press Release: Australia hits 10GW solar 
2 International Renewable Energy Agency, 2016, End-of-Life Management: Solar Photovoltaic Panels

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Circular business models for Australia’s solar photovoltaics industry