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Queensland government announces $2.5 million for solar panel recycling pilot

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The Queensland government has announced $2.5 million dedicated to a new solar panel recycling pilot program, which it says is the first in the nation, and comes alongside $3 million dedicated to renewable industry association grants.

In a statement on Friday, the state government said that “thousands of solar panels” from the state’s homes, businesses and solar farms will now be “recycled at end-of-life and reused for parts” thanks to the initiatives.

The $2.5 million pilot will also collect information that will “help inform the development of a national product stewardship scheme,” and identify gaps in Queensland’s recovery and processing.

“With up to five locations in metro and regional Queensland set to host the pilot, we expect to see a significant uplift in opportunity to create new jobs in recovery and processing activities,” said energy minister Mick de Brenni.

“Through its $1 billion solar panel manufacturing plan, the Albanese Government has provided the start of the line for solar panels, while today’s announcement by the Miles Government means we provide an end-of-life plan.”

The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates up to 78 million tonnes of panel waste could be generated globally by 2050.

Within Australia alone, one estimate is that 100,000 tonnes of disused solar panels will enter the waste stream by 2035.

The other $3 million in funding pledged on Friday is for Queensland Renewable Energy Industry Association Grants – allocated to the Smart Energy Council (SEC), the Queensland Renewable Energy Council (QREC) and the Clean Energy Council (CEC.)

Picture: Broken Hill solar plant (credit Jeremy Buckingham)

Further reading

Three-year project yields new answer to solar panel recycling difficulties

Cleaning up solar panel waste

Rethinking what Australia can and should do in silicon



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