South Australian company Reclaim PV Recycling has secured development approval for the country’s first solar panel recovery and recycling facility in suburban Adelaide.
Reclaim initially hopes to process about 70,000 panels a year at the Lonsdale facility – and to establish facilities in other major metropolitan areas “in the next one to two years”.
The Lonsdale facility will utilise pyrolysis to break down and pull apart PV panels into their component parts by passing them through a high-temperature furnace.
After the thermal extraction process is complete, the recovered components are sorted and placed into collection bins for delivery to materials companies, ensuring all recoverable materials are available.
Director of Reclaim PV Recycling Clive Fleming said: “This is an exciting time for Reclaim PV and the PV industry, which is in need of a nation-wide approach to managing the replacement and recycling of faulty, non-performing and end-of-life solar panels.”
The company was founded in 2011, and since then Mr Fleming and his partner, David Galloway, have been refining their business model, including how to overcome the challenge of economically transporting disused panels to South Australia, and then to other furnace sites which the company says it will develop as demand for recycling increases.
Reclaim PV also plans to introduce a European-style industry participation model in which manufacturers and large-scale solar farm developers can choose a membership level in line with their anticipated waste flow each year.
Reclaim has also been working with companies such as Canadian Solar, ReneSola, Q Cells, SunPower and Suntech, to recycle panels that failed under warranty, or that have been damaged during transit or installation.