The management and treatment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) are governed by D.lgs n. 49/2014, “Attuazione della direttiva 2012/19/UE sui rifiuti di apparecchiature elettriche ed elettroniche (RAEE)”. Most commonly “Decreto RAEE”, and by the previous D.lgs n. 152/2006 “Norme in materia ambientale” or more commonly, “Testo unico ambiente”.
In D.lgs n. 49/2014, WEEE are defined as follows: “electrical or electronic equipment that is waste pursuant to article 183, paragraph 1, letter a), of D.lgs 152/2006, including all components, sub-assemblies and consumables that they are an integral part of the product when the holder gets rid of it, has the intention or obligation to discard it “.
With the “Decreto RAEE”, photovoltaic modules (PV) at end-of-life also obtained a classification as WEEE, with the European Waste Code (CER) 160214 for not dangerous photovoltaic WEEE and 160213 * for dangerous ones.
THE D.lgs n. 49/2014 also regulates the correct attitude to be taken by:
- the manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) at the time of placing the equipment on the Italian market;
- the producers of waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) when they dispose of it, have the intention or obligation to discard it.
Specifically, for WEEE from PV modules, the legislation provides that the manufacturer of PV EEE must provide financial guarantees for the PV panel’s end-of-life management, by enrolling in an authorized consortium system. The producer or holder of the WEEE, must instead manage them by addressing exclusively to subjects authorized by the law.
The management requirements of both EEE and WEEE regulated by the WEEE Decree had already been introduced in Italy on the occasion of the Ministerial Decrees of the IV and V Conto Energia (DM 5 May 2011 and DM 5 July 2012) relating to photovoltaic modules for plants incentivized with the Energy Services Manager (GSE) who, as “Actuator Subject”, carried out and still carries out the control activities for their correct management.
After, the GSE also issued the “Istruzioni operative per la gestione e lo smaltimento dei pannelli fotovoltaici incentivati (art. n. 40 of D.lgs. 49/2014)”, with the latest update in April 2019, introducing further requirements for correct photovoltaic modules’ end-of-life management.
For the PV plants relating to I, II, III and part of the IV Conto Energia, whose DM were issued before the WEEE Decree of 2014, no type of financial guarantee was provided for modules’ end-of-life management.
The Italian Environmental Ministry (MATTM) has partially solved the problem of said lack of financial coverage with Art. 40 of D.lgs. n. 49/14, providing that the GSE will withhold from the incentive tariffs for the PV systems incentivized pursuant to the aforementioned DM a financial guarantee quota for correct modules’ end-of-life management.
With the issue of D.lgs. n. 221/2015 (“Collegato Ambientale”), the MATTM has aligned itself with what had already been regulated in the DM IV and V Conto Energia, providing that with regard to photovoltaic modules, whether domestic or professional, the collective systems – to which PV EEE producers must to adhere – must adopt a financial guarantee system similar to regulated in 2012 by the GSE “Disciplinare Tecnico”:
- eco-fee for the PV EEE must be paid in an inalienable Trust until the PV module end-of-life treatment;
- the EEE and the WEEE must be traceable by serial number and geolocated for own PV system.
The Eco-PV Consortium has authorizations, organization and competence both for the management of the eco-fee in the TRUST ECO-PV for the new PV modules placed on the market by the producers, and for the end-of-life PV modules management as required by the current legislation and by the GSE “Istruzioni Operative”.
Eco-PV also has a network of highly professional authorized partners, distributed throughout the national territory, for an excellent pickup, transport and treatment of photovoltaic WEEE in accordance with the italian law.
The DM of 5 July 2012 (V Conto Energia), in art. 7 paragraph 5, letter A, provides that:
- the module manufacturer must join a European system or Consortium that guarantees the recycling of the photovoltaic modules;
- the manufacturer must have a certificate issued by the recycling system or Consortium to which he adheres;
- for imported modules, the consortium membership can be made by the importer.
The application rules for access to the GSE incentive rates, pursuant to the Decree of 5 July 2012 (V Conto Energia), in point 4.6.2. provide that:
- “The Responsible Subject is required to transmit to the GSE a certificate of adhesion by the manufacturer of the photovoltaic modules to a system or consortium. So the consortium guarantees, through an adequate operational and financial structure, the complete end-of-life management of photovoltaic modules placed on the market in the period of the membership in the Consortium / system and used on the PV plants for for approval of tariffs provided by the Conto Energia”;
- Consortium must satisfy a series of requirements, indicated in point 4.6.2 of the GSE “Regole Applicative” (see download area);
- plants that use modules whose manufacturer has not joined a Consortium by December 31, 2012, will lose the requirements for obtaining incentives;
- The GSE can proceed to cancel / revoke the conditional provision for the recognition of the incentive tariffs with the consequent recovery of the amounts unduly received by the Responsible Subject.