Significant amounts of photovoltaic panels are placed on the market in Europe every year, and there has been a significant increase of these quantities in the past three years. The WEEE Directive requires producers to take responsibility for the equipment placed on the market when it reaches end of life. This responsibility requires financial and environmental management to secure quality recovery of products and materials.

However, free riders -noncompliant companies – are present in most EU Member States (MS). This behavior results in a distortion of the market and unfair competition.

  • The WEEE Forum calls on legislators and policymakers to use environmental permits and other authorizations for large-scale solar PV installations as an instrument to ensure compliance with the WEEE legislation.
  • Authorities should support the participation of customs agencies and the creation of collaborative work forces involving enforcement officers, competent authorities and PROs in the identification, information, and prosecution of free riders.
  • Introduce the visible fee to finance the EPR of PVs.
  • Allow PVs financing as per article 12 of the WEEE Directive (financing of WEEE from private households).
  • Installers play an important, relevant role in the supply and value chain within the sector. They should be required to take responsibility and ensure that the PV technology they install is properly registered, as well as actively support take-back programmes.
  • Enforcement officers should perform targeted inspections across the supply chain including installers and (online) sellers.
  • PROs are invited to open communication channels for reporting free riders.
  • Online marketplaces should only allow WEEE-compliant producers to sell their products on their platforms and report for non registered sellers.
  • Grants, subsidies, and public procurement offers should only be awarded to compliant companies and companies that use compliant equipment.

Read the full report here.


The WEEE Forum a.i.s.b.l. is an international association representing 51 producer responsibility organisations across the globe. Together with our members, we are at the forefront of turning the extended producer responsibility principle into an effective electronic waste management policy approach through our combined knowledge of the technical, business and operational aspects of collection, logistics, de-pollution, processing, preparing for reuse and reporting of e-waste. Our mission is to be the world’s foremost e-waste competence centre excelling in the implementation of the circularity principle.

Transparency Register ID 702397445-73.

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