EU confirms manufacturers are responsible for solar PV panel disposal


  • The European Council has adopted new modifications to European legislation on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), which includes products such as computers, refrigerators, and solar panels.

The amendments are designed to adapt the WEEE Directive to a 2022 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union on the partial invalidity of the directive itself. This was due to the retroactive application of extended producer responsibility to waste solar panels placed on the market between Aug. 13, 2005, and Aug. 13, 2012.

The amendments state that the costs of management and disposal of waste solar panels marketed after Aug. 13, 2012, correspond to the producer of the electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). The expanded producer responsibility for EEE that was added to the scope of the directive in 2018 should apply to electronic products placed on the market after that date.

The amendments also introduce a review clause under which the European Commission must assess the need to review the directive by no later than 2026. The European Commission adopted its proposal for specific amendments to the WEEE Directive on Feb. 7, 2023. In November 2023, the co-legislators reached a provisional political agreement after adopting negotiating positions in June and October 2023. The European Parliament formally voted on the agreement on Feb. 6, 2024.

The latest European Council vote closes the adoption procedure. The text of the amendments will now be signed by the co-legislators. It will then be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will go into force 20 days later. Member states will have up to 18 months to transpose the amended directive into their national legal systems.

Author: Pilar Sánchez Molina

This article was originally published in pv magazine and is republished with permission.

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