Photovoltaic Panels, Energy Storage Batteries, and Electric Vehicle Batteries

California is committed to expanding our state’s use of clean, renewable energy, including solar panels and electric vehicles. In 2018, Governor Brown established an ambitious goal of relying entirely on zero-emission energy sources for its electricity by the year 2045 (SB 100, De León, Chapter 312, Statutes of 2018). As the State transitions to a cleaner energy and transportation sector, California must also prepare for the eventual end-of-life (EOL) management of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, electric vehicle (EV) batteries, energy storage batteries, and related equipment.

California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (PDF Download) in January 2019 to partner on developing consistent approaches to the collection and recycling of these devices.

On April 3, 2019, CalRecycle and CPUC held a joint public workshop on the collection, handling, and reuse or recycling of EOL PV panels, EV batteries, energy storage batteries, and related equipment. Discussion topics included current policies and programs, identifying challenges to proper disposal and recycling, and potential solutions.

California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) signed the MOU in 2020.

Addressing End-of-Life Management of PV Panels and Batteries for EV Vehicles and Energy Storage

CalRecycle, CEC, CARB and CPUC have continued the partnership with the support of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz), to develop two Interagency White Papers: Addressing End-of-Life Management for Photovoltaic Panels; and Addressing End-of-Life Management of Batteries for Electric Vehicles and Energy Storage. The papers are expected to be published in late 2022.