Solar panels

In 2017, the Washington Legislature passed Senate Bill 5939 to promote a sustainable, local renewable energy industry through modifying tax incentives. 

One portion of the bill created Chapter 70A.510.010 RCW (Photovoltaic Module Stewardship and Takeback Program), which requires manufacturers of solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or "PV" modules, to provide the public a convenient and environmentally sound way to recycle all modules purchased after July 1, 2017.

We anticipate implementation for this program to begin July 1, 2025.

Information for manufacturers of PV modules

Manufacturers are required to finance the takeback and recycling system at no cost to the owner of the PV module. Under the law, the "manufacturer" of a PV module covered by law, sold in or into Washington includes any entity that:

  • Has legal ownership of the brand name or co-brand of PV module.
  • Imports a PV module branded by a manufacturer that has no physical presence in the United States.
  • Sells at retail a PV module acquired from an importer and chooses to take legal responsibility in place of the importer as the manufacturer of that product.
  • Chooses to take legal responsibility on behalf of a manufacturer as defined in the previous bullets.

A product stewardship organization may act on behalf of a manufacturer or group of manufacturers to operate and implement the stewardship program. 

We were directed to develop guidance for PV module manufacturers on creating a stewardship plan for a self-directed PV module collection and recycling program (Chapter 70A.510.010 RCW). Our role is to ensure that the takeback plan offers a convenient collection system, and that the takeback and recycling of PV modules is done in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

Photovoltaic (PV) modules covered by the program

  • PV modules installed on, connected to, or integral with buildings
  • PV modules used in freestanding off-grid power generation systems, such as water pumping stations, electric vehicle charging stations, solar fencing, solar-powered signs, and solar-powered street lights
  • PV module kits
  • PV modules connected to the grid or utility service

See the Conditional Exclusion for Electronic Wastes (pdf) for management options for solar panels.