How to manage end-of-life solar PV

Installers and retailers in our programs are required to responsibly manage solar PV and comply with the Victorian Government’s ban on e-waste entering landfill.

What is e-waste?

E-waste is any item with a plug, battery or power cord that is no longer working or wanted. E-waste includes solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, inverters and energy storage equipment at the end of their useful life.

E-waste contains both valuable and hazardous materials that can be safely disposed of or recovered for reuse when they reach the end of their working life.

Poor management of e-waste can increase the risk of harm to human health and the environment. It contains many materials which can pose hazards, including:

  • broken glass or sharp edges of metal or plastic
  • exposure to toxic chemicals
  • heavy metals and mercury vapours.

Solar PV is ‘specified e-waste’. Specified e-waste poses a greater environmental and human health risk than other types of e-waste.

What are your obligations?

Panels must be taken to a ‘lawful place’

Solar panels must be taken to a lawful place, which can be a permission to sort, store or recover waste, or a licence for e-waste processors accepting more than 500 tonnes per annum.

It is an indictable offence not to take waste to a place authorised to receive it. There are substantial penalties if your waste does not go to a lawful place.

A producer of waste must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the waste is received at a place authorised to receive that type of waste.

The handling, storage and reprocessing of solar PV and other types of e-waste is regulated under the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).

See the EPA website for more information about priority waste and permissions.

Ban on e-waste entering landfill

The Victorian Government banned e-waste from entering landfill in Victoria, effective 1 July 2019.

It is a mandatory requirement in the Solar Victoria Notice to Market for retailers and installers in our Solar Homes and Solar for Business programs to comply with the Victorian Government’s Waste Management Policy (e-waste).

This policy bans e-waste from entering landfill, including solar PV, and aims to eliminate the risk to the environment and human health and maximise resource recovery.

See the Victorian Government Gazette: No. G26, Gazette 28 June 2018.

How to responsibly manage solar PV e-waste

While current options for recycling and reprocessing solar PV are limited, we remind installers and retailers in our programs that they have an obligation to do everything possible to responsibly manage end-of-life solar products.

We recommend you contact a solar PV recycler with permission to receive solar panels to obtain the location of the nearest collection point that accepts solar PV for recycling and reprocessing.

Specialist solar PV recyclers can achieve 90 per cent material recovery. We encourage you to send panels to a facility that is currently processing solar PV.

Researching online can be a good start to identify options for recycling. Lawful places with permission to receive solar panels include:

Acts, regulations and guidelines

Some of the acts, regulations, standards and guidelines that apply to the safe handling, storing, transferring, transporting and recycling of e-waste are listed below:

Occupational health and safety


EPA waste management policies

Australian Standards

  • AS 5377:2022 – Management of electrical and electronic equipment for re-use or recycling.

About the exportation of solar PV

Solar installers and retailers also need to be aware of restrictions and laws relating to the exportation of solar PV panels that are not working. Installers should think carefully about choosing to sell second-hand panels for export as this may be illegal.

Any international movement of solar PV for recycling or disposal that contains hazardous substances, such as lead and cadmium, is controlled by the Basel Convention. In Australia, the Basel Convention is given effect by the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 (Hazardous Waste Act).

An exporter of hazardous solar PV needs a permit under the Hazardous Waste Act to export the panels for recycling or disposal.

For more information, see the Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website.

Useful resources

The EPA provides many useful resources to help guide you on the responsible management of e-waste. These include:

About our commitment

Solar Victoria’s programs aim to support Victoria’s emerging circular economy by encouraging best practice approaches and outcomes for PV products and materials at the end of their lifecycle. We are committed to Victoria’s circular economy plan, Recycling Victoria: A new economy, and finding ways to cut solar product waste and boost recycling and reuse of our precious resources.

The Victorian Government is supporting the Breakthrough Victoria Challenge which seeks ideas to tackle solar PV waste and invest up to $10 million in developing scalable innovative panel recycling technologies within Victoria.

More information

EPA Victoria |

Sustainability Victoria |

WorkSafe Victoria |


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