Adelaide companies Tindo Solar and Reclaim PV have announced a partnership that aims to increase the number of solar panels recycled and reused in new products.
Tindo is Australia’s lone solar panel manufacturer, and Reclaim PV is a business with a process that uses manual then thermal separation followed by chemical treatments, recovering aluminium, silicon and other components, amounting to nearly all of a solar panel.
Shayne Jaenisch, CEO of Tindo, said that while his own company’s products had a lifespan of 25 years and therefore it had no immediate recycling issue of its own, its installers removed hundreds of panels each month to replace them with Tindo’s products.
“We recognise that a fully sustainable energy system requires a solution for its waste product, which in our industry is disused panels,” said Jaenisch
“Reclaim PV’s processes allow for a whole-life cycle approach to solar panels – meaning they needn’t become landfill. It’s a really important development in the energy transition and one that we’re very proud to be a part of.”
Reclaim has a facility in Lonsdale and is developing a national recovery and recycling network.
Currently only the junction box is unrecyclable, though this is the subject of R&D with an unnamed Australian university.
“The establishment of a national recovery and recycling network is an absolute necessity for the PV industry and for Australia which already has a solar panel disposal challenge on its hands,” said Reclaim’s director and founder Clive Fleming.
“Waste is never waste. It is a resource, and we just need to treat it as such. This is the key concept of the circular economy – that nothing is wasted, and everything is re-used as part of a continuous cycle. But this doesn’t work unless we’re all playing our part.
At current rates and without action, solar panels in landfill are predicted to be a 100,000 tonnes-per-year problem by 2035.
Picture: Tindo Solar
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