The solar photovoltaic (PV) industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years, resulting in a substantial increase in the amount of end-of-life (EOL) waste generated by these panels. Proper waste management is crucial to minimize environmental and health risks. The purpose of this study is to examine the EOL solar PV waste management policies and regulations in China and the United States, identifying challenges and recommending policy implications for enhancing sustainable waste management practices. China has promulgated policies and regulations for managing PV EOL waste, including the National Solid Waste Law and GB or GB/T standards. In the US, federal regulations and guidelines such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and state-specific hazardous waste programs, universal waste rules, and waste recycling programs are enacted. The findings of this study indicate that China and the US face distinct challenges in solar PV end-of-life waste management. China lacks comprehensive local government-level regulations, while the USA exhibits variations in coverage and specific management requirements across states. In light of these observations, as policy implications, it is recommended. Firstly, there is a need for greater harmonization between federal and local/state-level policies and regulations. Secondly, continued research and development efforts are crucial to explore cost-effective and environmentally responsible recycling and disposal options for PV panels. Furthermore, promoting collaboration among policymakers, industry stakeholders, and researchers can facilitate knowledge sharing and the exchange of best practices. Such measures will contribute to the effective and sustainable management of solar PV EOL waste in China and the USA.
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academic journal article
Policies and regulations for solar photovoltaic end-of-life waste management: Insights from China and the USA