Solar panels - an eco-disaster waiting to happen?
By Daniel Gordon
The Climate Question podcast, BBC Sounds
While they are being promoted around the world as a crucial weapon in reducing carbon emissions, solar panels only have a lifespan of up to 25 years.
Experts say billions of panels will eventually all need to be disposed of and replaced.
"The world has installed more than one terawatt of solar capacity. Ordinary solar panels have a capacity of about 400W, so if you count both rooftops and solar farms, there could be as many as 2.5 billion solar panels.," says Dr Rong Deng, an expert in solar panel recycling at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
According to the British government, there are tens of millions of solar panels in the UK. But the specialist infrastructure to scrap and recycle them is lacking.
Energy experts are calling for urgent government action to prevent a looming global environmental disaster.
"It's going to be a waste mountain by 2050, unless we get recycling chains going now," says Ute Collier, deputy director of the International Renewable Energy Agency.