Solar energy is driving India's clean energy transition.

But how do we manage the solar waste problem?

By 2030, these estimates could go up to 340 kt due to existing capacity.

As of FY23, India's installed 66.7 GW solar capacity has generated about 100 kilotonnes (kt) of waste.

Source: CEEW Analysis

Source: CEEW analysis

67% of this waste is expected to be generated in five states: Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The cumulative waste from existing and new capacity will reach about 600 kt by 2030.

Source: CEEW Analysis

Solar waste contains metals such as lead, cadmium, and tellurium that are toxic to humans and the environment.

But, recycling solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies has environmental, economic, and social benefits.

It contains critical minerals with high economic value like silver and silicon that can reduce India's import dependency and enhance mineral security.

Managing solar waste can also lay the foundation for a circular economy by:

1) Using recovered minerals in the domestic manufacturing of new PV cells and modules

2) Reducing the need for mining and purification of virgin materials

 3) Creating green jobs

How can India manage

solar waste


We recommend:

1)  Maintaining and periodically updating an installed solar capacity database for accurate mapping of waste generation centres

2) Issuing guidelines for collecting and storing solar waste

3) Promoting safe and efficient processing of stored waste

Enabling a Circular Economy in India’s Solar Industry

Assessing the Solar Waste Quantum