PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona lawmakers are considering a bill that would require solar panels to be recycled.

Rep. Mark Finchem introduced the legislation, which has already cleared the House Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee.

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"Whether it’s recycling, decommissioning, re-tasking, whatever that looks like, we want to make sure there’s a plan in place before these things come of age," Finchem said. "A lot of those materials that they’re made of, if they get into our water table, they’re toxic and they’re poisonous."

The proposed bill would require solar panels to be recycled at an approved recycling facility. It would also would impose a $5 per panel fee on the person who sells or leases the panels, unless those panels are produced by a manufacturer that has its own recycling program. According to the proposal, the manufacturer would have to submit annual reports to the state.

"I'm a big believer in user pays," Finchem said.

The bill is facing opposition from the solar industry.

"This is going to have unintended consequences on the industry and raise costs for the industry and consumers," said Brandon Cheshire, the president of the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association.

Cheshire said the industry is already tackling the issue of solar panel recycling, and said state regulation is unnecessary.

"We do consider ourselves stewards of the environment. We do not want any of the solar panels going in landfills," Cheshire said. "The sun is the greatest natural resource we have in the state. To put a tax on an industry that is growing and thriving, it defies common sense."

Currently, the proposed law would also require electric car batteries to be recycled, but Rep. Finchem said he anticipates splitting the plan into two separate pieces of legislation.


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