German WEEE law ElektroG came into force on 24 October, bringing PV modules under the scope of mandatory Producer responsibility. Classification of PV modules as household equipment results in a legally binding financial guarantee on yearly sold PV modules in Germany.
Besides the provision of an annual financial guarantee, the German law also requires financing of current waste either collected by the municipal network, a dedicated industry scheme or the Producer directly. Producers are Germany-based companies manufacturing or importing PV modules for the German market.
With the B2C-classification, PV modules can be disposed of at municipal collection points. The further collection and treatment from there has to be executed and financed by the Producers either directly or via a subcontracted collective scheme. Communication between the municipal network and the Producers is coordinated by the official Producer register Stiftung ElektroAltGeräte (EAR), which also issues the mandatory Producer Identification Number required to receive the permission to market PV modules in Germany. Proof of an EAR-accredited financial guarantee is a prerequisite to being attributed a Producer number.
The disposal of end-of-life modules at municipal collection points may be limited. Therefore, PV module waste can also be managed by an industry-led compliance and waste management scheme such as PV CYCLE. The PV-focused take-back and recycling service of PV CYCLE had already allowed the German industry to sustainably treat more than 7,000 tonnes of discarded PV modules.