Although solar panels are the pinnacle of environmentally friendly equipment, as technology develops and more powerful panels overtake the market, outdated panels are becoming hazardous garbage. Now, a California-based firm called SolarCycle is making use of that waste by recycling the panel’s component parts and profitably selling them.
About 95% of the high-value components in solar panels, including silver, silicon, copper, and aluminum, according to SolarCycle, can be cheaply extracted. The circular solar economy can then be created by reusing those or adding them back into the supply chain.
The team focuses on removing the materials and then selling them back to other suppliers who will use them to make new products. However, the plan is to focus on developing new panels from these old panels over the long term, said SolarCycle CEO Suvi Sharma, pointing out that the only recycling of solar panels so far has been extremely primitive and expensive.
Sharma noted that there is surprisingly little rivalry in the business because the technology for solar recycling is still in its infancy. What was provided was subpar and inexpensive. Due to the rapid advancement of solar technology, recycling is now even more necessary since new panels become considerably more efficient while older ones become much less effective.
According to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory assessment, the U.S. alone might produce around 1 million metric tons of trash solar panels by 2030 as older models fail or are replaced by more potent ones.
The recently founded company is now able to recycle at scale thanks to a partnership with Sunrun, one of the biggest solar services suppliers in the U.S.
It is absolutely cost-effective in the context of what our customers desire for us to be doing and the future of solar panels and the clean energy revolution, said Sunrun CEO Mary Powell.
According to Sunrun CEO Mary Powell, it is incredibly cost-effective when seen from the perspective of what our consumers want us to be doing, the future of solar panels, and the clean energy revolution.
Sharma claims that although SolarCycle is still relatively young, the company is already experiencing high demand.
The company started making revenue this year, but it is going from almost nothing to $100 million in revenue over the following few years, he claimed.
Along with Closed Loop Partners and the Urban Innovation Fund, investors include Peter Rive of SolarCity and Lyndon Rive of SunPower. Up to now, $6.6 million has been raised.