Correctly collecting photovoltaic modules:
what collection point operators need to bear in mind

There are a few things to bear in mind when collecting photovoltaic modules and preparing them for transport to ensure a smooth and safe return.

The first step is to separate any photovoltaic modules that may contain hazardous substances from those that do not. These must always be palletised separately. The only way to find out whether PV modules contain hazardous substances is to check the label or system description. Without this information, even a specialist will be unable to know for certain whether PV modules contain hazardous substances. If you find any modules containing hazardous substances or are unsure, always separate these PV modules and inform SENS eRecycling immediately.

A helpful rule of thumb

There is a rule of thumb that can help when determining whether or not a photovoltaic module contains hazardous substances.

  • Crystalline silicon modules are always free of hazardous substances
  • Thin-film PV modules can contain hazardous substances, although this depends heavily on the technology used. The following technologies are hazardous: CdTe, CIS, CIGS

CIS and CIGS thin-film modules feature semiconductors made of copper indium disulphide or copper indium gallium diselenide. CdTe thin-film modules contain cadmium telluride. They are therefore hazardous and must be processed separately.

Correct palletisation

The next step is to correctly prepare the PV modules for transport. The modules must be palletised flat on a container that is suitable for the corresponding weight. Suitable containers include frameless SBB pallets, comparable single-use pallets or the containers with which new PV modules are delivered.

Observe the following

  • The maximum height is 1.2 metres
  • The container must be bound with two straps
  • The total weight of the loaded pallet must not exceed 1,000 kilograms
  • If a pallet weighs 500 kilograms or more, the consignor or receiver must provide loading equipment (for example a forklift)
  • The consignor or receiver is responsible for loading and unloading respectively. The corresponding personnel must therefore be present

Incorrectly palletised PV modules lead to additional work during transport. The recycling company reserves the right to charge for this additional work in the event of poor delivery quality.

Download the collection and transport informative notice now