Conservation Corps North Bay is happy to spearhead solar panel recycling efforts in partnership with other organizations in our community. In light of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s designation of photovoltaic modules (solar panels) as its eighth category of toxic waste, CCNB’s Zero Waste department will launch a new recycling collection program this year, in partnership with Zero Waste Sonoma (ZWS). Thanks to a grant from CalRecycle, CCNB crews will also collect solar panels at select Zero Waste Sonoma sponsored e-waste events across Sonoma County.
In preparation, CCNB crews have been receiving training on the proper recordkeeping, testing, storage, and transportation of solar panels. Corpsmembers and supervisors will test collected solar panels with a multimeter—if the solar panels can’t be reused, they will be sent to our partner, a certified solar panel recycler. If the solar panels are in good condition, they will be transported to Sonoma County nonprofits such as Cow Shades, GreenLynx, or Habitat for Humanity, which reuse solar panels for various purposes.
Through this project, our Zero Waste Department expands the network of infrastructure that will be needed as more solar panels reach the end of their lifetime. The emphasis on reusing collected solar panels in collaboration with other nonprofits will bring green energy to our communities, and the recycling efforts will keep toxic materials away from our landfills.