December 3, 2023

EDF Renewables North America, one of the US’s largest renewable developers, has officially agreed to recycle its solar panels.

Recycling solar panels in the US

EDF Renewables and solar recycling company SOLARCYCLE have signed an agreement in which SOLARCYCLE will recycle EDF’s solar panels that get damaged or broken during construction and operation from its grid-scale, distribution-scale, and onsite solar sites.

EDF says it chose SOLARCYCLE as a preferred partner because the latter’s proprietary technology allows for the extraction of 95% of the value from recycled panels, including silver, silicon, copper, aluminum, and glass. That’s at the high-achieving end of the current solar recycling industry standard – the US’s largest solar company, First Solar, says it can recover 90% of the value.

Once SOLARCYCLE extracts the raw materials from EDF Renewables’ solar panels, it will sell the recycled materials to other solar manufacturers in North America.

Jesse Simons, chief commercial officer and cofounder of SOLARCYCLE, said:

We are proud to partner with EDF Renewables, who went deep with us, with multiple visits to our factory, extensive audits, and a competitive RFP process…

As one of the largest clean energy companies in the world, we are thrilled that we were selected for this important initiative…

Today’s announcement should be a sign to other global companies that recycling technology is ready today.

SOLARCYCLE opened its recycling center in Odessa, Texas, last year. 

Electrek’s Take

EDF Renewables is showing foresight by making recycling plans in the short term for its damaged or broken panels.

Recycling solar panels in the US is at a fledgling stage – as of a year ago, only 10% of solar panels were being recycled. With the rapid pace of the solar rollout, being able to recycle these valuable materials is not just a nice-to-have; it’s going to be especially crucial when they all reach end-of-life stage. These valuable materials must be reused to balance the supply chain from mining to finished product.

Hopefully, other companies will follow in EDF Renewables’ and First Solar’s footsteps, as the US has a long way to go to get its solar recycling house in order.

Read more: Orsted has pledged to recycle 100% of its US solar panels


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