SEIA, SunPower, First Solar, SolarCity, JinkoSolar, & Others Launch First PV Recycling Network In US

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SunPower - California Valley Solar Ranch - San Luis Obispo County, CA - 250 MW panels -installationThe Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), SunPower, First Solar, SolarCity, JinkoSolar, Trina Solar, Flex, and a coalition of other solar photovoltaic industry firms, have launched what is now the first solar photovoltaic recycling program in the US, according to some recent press releases.

The new SEIA-backed, US-based solar photovoltaic (PV) recycling program reportedly “includes a network of cost-effective recyclers that can responsibly dispose of decommissioned PV modules,” a JinkoSolar press release stated.

“JinkoSolar has always been keen to ensure that its modules are clean and eco-friendly from cradle to grave,” said Nigel Cockroft, General Manager of JinkoSolar (US) Inc. “By passing TCLP tests and helping start this recycling framework, JinkoSolar has shown that it is a true leader in environmental responsibility.”

The press release provides a bit of background on JinkoSolar’s particular solar PV panels: “While JinkoSolar modules are expected to last at least 25 years, PV system owners now have dedicated resources to help aid in responsible disposal of modules once they reach the end of their life cycle. JinkoSolar modules recently passed toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) tests. Products that do not leach toxic materials at levels exceeding regulatory limits are termed TCLP compliant. TCLP compliant JinkoSolar modules will give system owners more time and flexibility to dispose of the modules.”

Statements from other solar panel manufacturers in the program came through via SEIA:

“As solar energy becomes mainstream, it’s critical that industry leaders focus on recycling and diverting waste from landfills,” said Marty Neese, SunPower chief operating officer. “The SEIA recycling initiative complements SunPower’s holistic approach to sustainability centered on lean manufacturing and circular economy principles. Our innovative, high efficiency solar panels are Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver. They are designed to work for more than 40 years and can be recycled at the end of their useful life.”

“With more than 227 gigawatts of solar modules installed worldwide, recycling is important for all PV technologies and the sustainability of the industry as a whole,” said Alex Heard, senior vice president, Global Technical Services at First Solar. “By making affordable PV recycling solutions more accessible to consumers, SEIA’s recycling program will help to ensure that today’s clean energy solutions do not pose a future waste burden. With more than 10 years of industry-leading experience in providing cost-effective high-value PV recycling solutions globally, First Solar looks forward to partnering with SEIA on this great initiative.”

SEIA’s interim president, Tom Kimbis, also chimed in: “Our goal is make the entire solar industry landfill-free. By establishing a national network of collection points, recycling facilities and an easy-to-use consumer web portal, this proactive program will help drive down the cost of recycling for all parties involved. This means the environment wins and so do our solar consumers and companies.”

Those looking for more information on solar PV recycling may want to take a look at these articles:

Image by SunPower

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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