South Korean authorities plan to introduce new regulations on the recycling of photovoltaic waste in 2023. Some recycling facilities are already under construction, one of which was built by the government with a total processing capacity of 9,700 tons.

Currently, the South Korean government is formulating new regulations for recycling scrap photovoltaic modules.

Kyungrak Kwon, director of renewable energy projects at Seoul Climate Solutions (Solutions For Our Climate), told Photovoltaic magazine: “The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program is expected to take effect from 2023.”

The government is building a photovoltaic module recycling facility to ensure sufficient recycling capacity.

Kwon explained: “As part of the government’s efforts to expand solar photovoltaic module recycling capabilities, Jincheon County plans to build a 3,600-ton module recycling facility by 2021.”

However, once the recycling program is launched, the facility is not the only facility open.

Kwon added: “Yoonjin Tech currently has a 1,000-ton plant and plans to increase its production capacity by 2,600 tons by the end of this year. Line Tech will build a 2,500-ton facility by 2022, bringing Korea’s total solar module recycling capacity to 9,700 tons.”

Manufacturers and importers will pay the price per kilogram set by the Ministry of Environment. The proceeds will be used to support recycling services.

Kwon said: “The government proposed a price of 1,200 won ($1.04) per kilogram as early as 2018, but the government and the association of solar photovoltaic manufacturers and importers may be negotiating on this, and changes may occur.”

According to the new regulations, manufacturers will be responsible for component recycling from 2023. However, they do not directly carry out the recycling work, but must pay the recycling fee according to the recycling obligation rate set by the Ministry of Environment. The fee collected will be used to support the recycling service.

The new regulations will also apply to other consumer products such as household appliances and packaging, and will be effective for all domestic manufacturers and importers, regardless of whether their photovoltaic projects are constructed under the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) plan.

Know said: “So far, the amount of scrap of solar photovoltaic modules in Korea is the smallest. Therefore, the relevant regulations so far are limited, and it is not clear how many solar photovoltaic modules are being recycled.”

This new plan is part of the domestic photovoltaic industry promotion plan recently announced by the Korean government. These plans include providing more financial support for solar R&D and formulating carbon footprint rules for solar manufacturing.

Seoul plans to reach 30.8 GW of installed solar capacity by 2030. This ambitious goal may also be achieved through large-scale solar projects, such as the recently announced 2.1 GW floating solar array and 3 GW ground-based photovoltaic power station in the Saemangeum area. About a year ago, South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced these projects.