The Study and Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Solar Panel Waste Management Process: Case Study at the University of Phayao



Greenhouse Gas Emission, Disposal, Solar cell, Environmental Impact


Thailand has promoted the generation of electricity using solar power renewable energy. However, the disposal of solar panels at the end of their life impacts on the environment, especially in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. This research focused on an evaluation of greenhouse gas release in the processes of solar panel waste disposal. This study conducted a scenario analysis of expired solar panels located at the University of Phayao sent for disposal in Japan, and assessed the WEEE Directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) in the recycling process. Two processes were evaluated: the transportation and recycling of 250-watt, polycrystalline silicon solar cells, based on a product life cycle assessment. The results found that the total greenhouse gas emission value was 8.6370 kgCO2eq/module- 2.1295 kgCO2eq/module from transportation and 6.5075 kgCO2eq/module from the recycling processes in Japan. Establishing a recycling plant in Thailand will diminish the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. In addition, the use of renewable energy in electricity generation should be encouraged, as well as the selection of highly-efficient recycling technology to reduce the environmental impact.

Author Biographies

Putthadee Ubolsook, Uttaradit Rajabhat University


Chatkaew Chailuecha, School of Energy and Environment, University of Phayao

19 Moo 2 Tambon Maeka Amphur Muang Phayao 5600


Auer, A. (2015). Photovoltaic Module Decommissioning and Recycling in Europe and Japan: Current Methodologies, Norms and Future Trends. Master’s Thesis, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Chaiyadecha, V. (2018). Legal Mesures on the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emission from the Land Transportation. Graduate Law Journal, 11(2), April-June 2018. (in Thai)

Corcelli, F., Ripa M.B. and Ulgiati, S. (2017). End-of-life treatment of crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels An emergy-based case study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 161, 1129-1142.

Cynthia, E.L., Fulvio, A., Gian, A.B. and Lucia, M. (2016). Life Cycle Assessment of an innovative recycling process for crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 156, 101-111.

Daniela, S., Ornella, M., Stefania, S., Mario, T. and Maria, C.L. (2018). Management of end-of-life photovoltaic panels as a step towards a circular Economy. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 82, 2934–2945.

David A.T., Ian, D. and Williams, S.K. (2015). Greenhouse gas emission factors recycling of source-segregated waste materials. Resources Conservation and Recycling, 105, 186-197.

Dias, P., Javimczik, S., Benevit, M., Veit, H. and Bernardes, A.M. (2016). Recycling WEEE: Extraction and concentration of silver from waste crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules. Waste Management, 57, 220–225.

Granata, G., et al. (2014). Recycling of photovoltaic panels by physical operations. Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells, 123, 239–248.

Kang, S., Yoo, S., Lee, J., Boo, B. and Ryu, H. (2012). Experimental investigations for recycling of silicon and glass from waste photovoltaic modules. Renewable Energy, 47, 152–159.

Komoto, K. and Jin-Seok, L. (2018). End-of-Life Management of Photovoltaic Panels: Trends in PV Module Recycling Technologies. Japan: New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

Kemp, K. and Almakhlooq, R. (2016). Photovoltaic: Life Cycle Analysis and End of Life Management for Materials Reuse and Waste Recycling. Conference 2016: Renewable Energy World International, University of South Florida, USA.

Kim, Y. and Lee, J. (2012). Dissolution of ethylene vinyl acetate in crystalline silicon PV modules using ultrasonic irradiation and organic solvent. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 98, 317–322.

Lunardi M. M., Alvarez-Gaitan, J. P., Bilbao, J. I., and Corkish, R. (2018). Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of End-of-Life Silicon Solar Photovoltaic Modules. Apply Sciences, 8, 1-15.

Pagnanelli, F., et al. (2017). Physical and chemical treatment of end of life panels: An integrated automatic approach viable for different photovoltaic technologies. Waste Management, 59, 422-431.

Philippe, S. and Rolf, F. (2018). Life Cycle Assessment of current photovoltaic module recycling. USA: IEA International Energy Agency, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Rachdawong, P., et al. (2016). Management of expired solar PV panels. Bangkok: Office for Research and Development, Chulalongkorn University. (in Thai).

Sampattagul, S. (2012). Life Cycle Assessment of Products. Chiang Mai: Faculty of Engineering, Chiang Mai University Publishing. (in Thai)

Seaports: info, marketplace. (2018). Sea rout and distance. [online], Available: http:// Access on February 1, 2020.

Shahariar, M.C., et al. (2020). An overview of solar photovoltaic panels’ end-of-life material recycling. Energy Strategy Reviews, 27, 100430.

Solar Trade Platform and Directory of Solar Companies. (2018). PV Techno Cycle, [online], Available: Access on March 30, 2020.

Sukmin, K., et al. (2012). Experimental investigations for recycling of silicon and glass from waste photovoltaic modules. Renewable Energy, 47, 152-159.

Sununta, N. and Sampattagul, S. (2017). Greenhouse Gases Evaluation of Power Generation Technology from Municipal Waste by Organic Rankine Cycle System. Journal of Innovative Technology Research, 1(1), 1-14. (in Thai)

Tammaro, M., Rimauro, J., Fiandra, V., and Salluzzo, A. (2015). Thermal treatment of waste photovoltaic module for recovery and recycling: Experimental assessment of the presence of metals in the gas emissions and in the ashes. Renewable Energy, 81, 103-112.

Tao, J. and Yu, S. (2015). Review on Feasible Recycling Pathways and Technologies of Solar Photovoltaic Modules. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 141, 108-124.

Wambach, K. (2017). Life Cycle Inventory of current photovoltaic module recycling processes in Europe. USA: The United States Department of Energy and Electric Power Research Institute.

Weckend, S., Wade, A.W. and Heath, G. (2016). End-of-Life management solar photovoltaic panels. USA: International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power Systems.

Wen-His, H., et al. (2017). Strategy and technology to recycle wafer-silicon solar modules. Solar Energy, 144, 22–31.