China plans recycling system for wind turbines, solar panels

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China will set up a recycling system for ageing wind turbines and solar panels, drawing up new industrial standards and rules to decommission, dismantle, and recycle wind and solar facilities following an announcement by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and five other state agencies.

The state planning agency said that China would have a “basically mature” full-process recycling system for wind turbines and solar panels by the end of the decade.

China’s new energy sector, which covers wind, solar, battery, and other emerging energy technologies, will face a problem of “mass decommissioning of equipment” as industry upgrades accelerate, the state agencies said. The country is set to retire about 250 GW of solar panels and 280 GW of wind turbines by 2040, according to Greenpeace.

Wind and solar manufacturers should design equipment that is lightweight and easy to disassemble and recycle, according to the NDRC’s guidelines. Renewable energy generators will also be responsible for decommissioning end-of-life equipment and will not be allowed to discard or bury the waste in landfill sites, it added.

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