Producers: definition and obligations
According to the revised WEEE regulation, there are several natural or legal persons who qualify as Producers of photovoltaic (PV) modules and are therefore responsible for processing the end-of-life panels. These definitions could be further qualified by the upcoming national legislation.
- Manufacturers: anyone established in a European Union Member State and manufacturing or selling PV panels under his own name or trademark within the territory of that Member State.
- Distributor or resellers: anyone established in a European Union Member State and reselling or distributing PV modules under their own name or trademark in that Member State. This includes those that have been produced by other suppliers, excluding when the brand of the original manufacturer appears on the product.
- Importer: anyone established in a European Union Member State and selling photovoltaic modules in that Member State from a third country or from another Member State.
- Internet/Distance Seller: Anyone selling photovoltaic modules by means of distance communication directly to private households or to users other than private households in a Member State and is established in a third country or another Member State.
What are the obligations of a Producer?
WEEE prescribes a series of requirements for Producers of photovoltaic modules:
- Registration in the national WEEE register or appointment of an authorised representative for each country.
- Yearly reporting of the PV modules put on the national market to the national WEEE register.
- Organisation and financing of the take-back and waste management of the photovoltaic modules.
- Ensuring a financial guarantee for the disposal operations when photovoltaic modules are considered as household WEEE (see WEEE scope, timeline).
- Achieving mandatory collection and recycling targets.
- Marking all products with a crossed-out wheelie bin.*
- Informing treatment facilities of the product’s composition, including the potential use of hazardous materials.
- Informing end customers on how they must dispose of their old PV modules.
Does WEEE clearly define what a photovoltaic module is?
While the definition of Producers is very extensive, there is no article in the WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU that specifically defines what a photovoltaic (PV) module is.
Photovoltaic panels are intended to be used in a system that is designed, assembled and installed by professionals for permanent use at a defined location to produce energy from solar light for public, commercial, industrial and residential applications.