Koehler 2 2022 floor


SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) to establish a plan for renewable recycling in Illinois advanced out of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee on Thursday.

“When talking about renewable energy, we sometimes overlook that while the energy itself may be renewable, too often the technology used to harness it isn’t,” Koehler said. “Expanding opportunities to recycle and reuse the raw materials used to build solar panels won’t just save taxpayer dollars, it will help protect our environment and keep sustainable energy truly sustainable.”

Senate Bill 3790 creates a Renewable Energy Component Recycling Task Force, which is responsible for investigating options for recycling and other end of life methods for renewable generation components and energy storage devices. The Task Force must report its findings to the General Assembly by March 1, 2023.

By 2030, the United States is expected to see as much as one million total tons of solar panel waste, and by 2050, the United States is expected to have the second largest number of retired solar panels in the world, with as many as an estimated 10 million total tons of panels. States such as California, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington have already implemented strategies to address this excess waste.

“As we look to establish sustainable energy sources for our state, we need to make sure we’re phasing out old technology in a safe and responsible manner,” Koehler said. “Creating new problems in the name of solving old ones isn’t progress. We have a responsibility to strive toward a healthier environment for generations to come.” 

The legislation now goes before the Senate for further consideration.