THE ISSAM FARES INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
The AUB Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) and the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) organized a webinar titled "The Long-Term Challenges of Solar Power Systems: Managing the Panel and Battery End of Life." The webinar took place on Thursday, May 12, 2022.
Lebanon’s electricity dilemma is being heavily impacted by the continued deep economic crisis the country is witnessing. The inability of the government to finance power production by securing Electricité du Liban’s (EDL) fuel needs for the existing power plants has led to dramatic rationing in the total power production as energy prices surge at an unprecedented rate. This has caused a remarkable rush towards the installation of increasingly competitive renewable energy sources, most notably solar photovoltaic (PV) and batteries (or solar kits) which are now being widely deployed by households and businesses across Lebanon.
Solar power is safe, reliable, efficient, and emission-clean. Yet, despite the relatively long lifetime of solar panels of around 15 years, the efficacy of these panels will degrade over time and will eventually be disposed of which poses a waste risk of alarming proportions. The same goes for the batteries (in both types, lead-acid or Li-ion) that have a much shorter lifespan of around 3-4 years. In fact, these items contain lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), Lithium (Li), and many other harmful chemicals that can leach into the soil and eventually contaminate drinking water sources.
This webinar explored available options for an environmentally sound end-of-life management of PV power systems (panels and batteries). The discussion also explored how such waste management practices could encourage the recycling and repurposing of some of the PV power system's essential components taking into consideration Lebanon’s recycling expertise.
Energy Researcher and Associate Fellow, IFI
Types of PV power systems and regulatory framework for end-of-life-management
Director of Environmental and Sustainability Services, Laceco
PV power systems waste
Mechanical Engineer and Energy Expert, Arcenciel
End-Of-Life Management: Best practices
Researcher, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies