Senate unanimously approves O'Mara's ‘Solar Panel Collection Act’: O’Mara says action offers a commonsense approach to waste management

June 13, 2018

"This legislation offers a commonsense, proactive, economically and environmentally sound approach to managing photovoltaic waste and keeping it out of landfills,” said Senator O’Mara, Chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

“As New York State continues to aggressively move forward on developing and utilizing renewable energy, and we should, it’s important to cover all the bases. This includes staying ahead of the potential need to collect and properly dispose of or recycle out-of-service solar panels.

Albany, N.Y., June 13—The New York State Senate today unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) to enact the “Solar Panel Collection Act” and establish a solar panel recycling and disposal program in New York State.

The legislation (S.2837) would require the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), working with solar panel manufacturers, to develop a program for the collection, transportation, recycling and disposal of out-of-service solar panels.  Manufacturers would finance the program.

“As New York State continues to aggressively move forward on developing and utilizing renewable energy, and we should, it’s important to cover all the bases.  This includes staying ahead of the potential need to collect and properly dispose of or recycle out-of-service solar panels.  This legislation offers a commonsense, proactive, economically and environmentally sound approach to managing photovoltaic waste and keeping it out of landfills,” said O’Mara, Chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

O’Mara noted that the state’s Clean Energy Standard establishes the goal of obtaining 50% of the state’s energy needs by 2030.  Solar-generated electricity will be a cornerstone of meeting this goal.

Supporters of the legislation caution that the immense growth of the solar energy industry in New York State and nationally could produce a significant amount of photovoltaic (PV) waste. Solar panels contain materials and rare metals valuable for reuse, and the proper and responsible recycling of the panels will help keep them out of landfills.

Most manufacturers offer a 20- or 25-year standard solar panel warranty.