Extending WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive) to photovoltaic (PV) modules results in a legal obligation for France-based companies to organize the take-back and recycling of their discarded products returned to them by consumers and professionals.
“As far as the major PV module manufacturers are concerned, they anticipated the regulatory changes betimes, already integrating WEEE-compliance in their processes,” said Jan Clyncke, President at PV CYCLE France and head of Europe’s first PV-focused take-back and recycling scheme. “WEEE, however, not only concerns large manufacturing companies but the many small and medium-sized enterprises today active in France.” Article R543-174 of the French Environmental Code defines a “Producer” as a natural or legal person established in France and manufacturing, selling or reselling under own brand or importing PV modules.
“Offering a tailored service and good understanding of the French PV market is therefore a vital argument for our industry-managed waste treatment and compliance services”, said Nicolas Defrenne, Country Manager in France. Founded by leading actors of the French PV market, PV CYCLE France manages the WEEE-compliance for Producers and Importers and represents the industry towards the WEEE authorities.
“As the French regulations do not provide for any transitional period, it is important to comply immediately,” he stressed the impact of WEEE in France. Additionally, PV modules are considered to be household equipment under French WEEE law, for which end-of-life treatment and financing must be provided in a global approach. “Classifying PV modules as household equipment results in charging a visible fee on every newly sold equipment to set aside the mandatory funds for future waste management,” explained Mr Defrenne further.