One year of WEEE in European PV industry

Industry’s Producer and waste management scheme strikes balance

Brussels, 14 February 2015 – Exactly one year ago, on 14 February 2014, national transposition of the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) officially ended. A series of novelties has hit the market since, while Europe’s biggest PV market is still waiting for national requirements.

With the decision to take up PV modules in the scope of WEEE, operative, financial and administrative compliance with this important implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility has become a must for manufacturers and importers of PV modules across Europe.

While previously mainly large international companies took on end-of-life responsibility, it is the national PV actors that have to show compliance today – in every single selling market.

Active across Europe, PV CYCLE is known as the first point of contact when it comes to WEEE- and waste-related questions. ‘In our everyday work we meet dozens of companies not aware of their new obligations. Most of them embrace the new law as an opportunity to make their product truly green,’ is how Hugues Williamson, Head of Membership Service at PV CYCLE, describes today’s situation in the industry. ‘Some, however, refuse their responsibility.’

‘The customer’s trust that comes with an industry’s united commitment compensates the financial and administrative burden,’ says Jan Clyncke, Managing Director at PV CYCLE, underlining the need to speed up industry compliance. ‘At PV CYCLE we don’t want to see what many other industries faced when newly covered by legislation: too many years of non-compliance and unfair competition outpacing those who meet their obligations.’

For this reason, PV CYCLE – the industry’s own compliance and waste management provider – has taken an active stake in fighting free-riders and enabling the industry to meet its legal obligations. Knowledge transfer and cooperation with national authorities as well as a service proposition dedicated to meeting the needs of the PV industry will facilitate the shift from a voluntary to a legally binding Extended Producer Responsibility.

‘PV CYCLE has always stood for a fair and efficient waste management approach. Creating a level playing field is hence our main focus,’ says Pia Alina Lange, Head of Public Affairs at PV CYCLE.  ‘Therefore, PV CYCLE is working towards consistency and completeness in WEEE compliance, ensuring that PV module waste will not become an issue in the future.’

While PV CYCLE is actively informing national PV actors on their – potential – WEEE obligations, German manufacturers and importers still have until later in the year to take up their new requirements. As the only PV-relevant country, Germany has not yet implemented new WEEE law, bringing some more months of grace – or uncertainty – to the industry.