The recent ending of the 18 month period for transposing the revised Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive into national law in the EU is set to cause major changes for the Photo Voltaic (PV) solar panel industry
Originally launched in 2003, the WEEE Directive regulates the treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic products. It has been amended twice in 2008 and 2012, resulting in an enlarged scope to include many new additional products. PV modules were introduced in the latest revision of 2012.
With entry into force on January 1, 2014, the UK and Bulgaria were the first countries to transpose the new text into national law.
So far, no other EU Member State has implemented their national version of the Directive. Although some key PV markets like Germany, Italy, France and Spain have not yet incorporated it into their national laws, WEEE will remain relevant to the PV sector in 2014 and beyond.
According to PV CYCLE, a pan-European take-back and recycling scheme offering dedicated PV waste management and compliance solutions, once fully implemented the revisions will have a major impact on the solar PV industry.
“Waste management has been a reality for a vast majority of the European PV market since 2007,” commented Jan Clyncke, managing director of PV CYCLE.
“Including PV modules in the enlarged scope of the recast WEEE Directive has simply created a mandatory framework for every PV actor putting PV modules on an EU market for the very first time,” he continued.
Clyncke explained that under the revised WEEE Directive, PV companies will not only have to ensure the collection and recycling of their discarded end-of-life products but are required to also guarantee the financial future of PV waste management.
“Making sure that those in the PV value-chain affected by WEEE could prepare in advance has been our main focus for the last months,” he added.
PV CYCLE said that it is represented in all major PV markets, allowing for a better WEEE compliance service at national level, and that it offers its numerous European and international members a fully operational, PV-focused take-back and recycling service.
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