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WEEE comes into force for PV modules in France

End-of-life management becomes a legal obligation for French PV industry.

The recent publication of the French WEEE Decree 2014-928 in the Official Journal brings PV modules within the scope of greater producer responsibility. Beginning 23 of August, 2014, PV companies established in France must finance and ensure the waste treatment of the PV modules they sell and import.

Extending WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive) to photovoltaic 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, PV CYCLE France1 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.

Nicolas Defrenne, Country Manager in France, believes that offering a tailored service and good understanding of the French PV market is a vital argument for the country’s industry-managed waste treatment and compliance services.

"As the French regulations do not provide for any transitional period, it is important to comply immediately," Defrenne stated, adding that 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." 

  1. 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.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets