Review on Separation Processes of End-of-Life Silicon Photovoltaic Modules

Jongwon Ko, Kyunghwan Kim, Ji Woo Sohn, Hongjun Jang, Hae Seok Lee, Donghwan Kim, Yoonmook Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Solar energy has gained prominence because of the increasing global attention received by renewable energies. This shift can be attributed to advancements and innovations in solar cell technology, which include developments of various photovoltaic materials, such as thin film and tandem solar cells, in addition to silicon-based solar cells. The latter is the most widely commercialized type of solar cell because of its exceptional durability, long-term stability, and high photoconversion efficiency; consequently, the demand for Si solar cells has been consistently increasing. PV modules are designed for an operation lifespan of 25–30 years, which has led to a gradual increase in the number of end-of-life PV modules. The appropriate management of both end-of-life and prematurely failed PV modules is critical for the recovery and separation of valuable and hazardous materials. Effective methods for end-of-life PV waste management are necessary to minimize their environmental impact and facilitate transition to a more sustainable and circular economy. This paper offers a comprehensive overview of the separation processes for silicon PV modules and summarizes the attempts to design easily recyclable modules for sustainable solar module development. Based on the studies summarized in this paper, suggestions are provided for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4327
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jun

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • environment
  • photovoltaic (PV) module
  • recovery
  • recycling
  • renewable energy
  • separation
  • silicon solar cell
  • waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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