Asked by: Amy Rhys-Davies, Cambridge
Panels that convert solar energy into electricity last for decades, but when they do eventually wear out, they can be turned into new products – including fresh solar panels. Most of the materials they’re made from, such as glass, aluminium and copper, has been recycled for years. The semiconductor materials in them, such as silicon and cadmium telluride, can virtually all be recovered by specialist companies.
Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.