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First Europe Solar Panel Recycling Plant Opens

Author: Source: Datetime: 2018-07-02 12:31:50
According to Reuters, the French water and waste organization Veolia has opened the first solar panel recycling plant in Europe. As thousands of tons of aging solar panels will reach their end of life in the next few years, the company plans to build more such recycling plants.

The new plant in Rousset, southern France, has a contract with PV Cycle France, a solar industry recycling organization, to recycle 1,300 tons of solar power generator solar panels in 2018. Almost all solar panels will reach their life in France this year and will Increased to 4,000 tons by 2022.
Europe Solar Panel Recycling Plant
The person in charge of Veolia Electronic Recycling said, “This is the first dedicated solar panel recycling plant in Europe and may open other branches around the world in the future.”

Up to now, aged or broken solar panels are typically recycled in general purpose glass recycling facilities where only glass and aluminum frames are recycled and their specialty glass is mixed with other glass. The rest is usually burned in a cement furnace.

In 2016, the International Renewable Energy Agency said in its research on solar panel recycling that it is worthwhile to build a dedicated photovoltaic cell recycling plant in the long run. The agency estimates that the value of recycled materials could reach $450 million by 2030 and more than $15 billion by 2050.

The robots at the new Veolia plant break down the panels into glass, silicon, plastic, copper and silver, which are pulverized into granules that can be used to make new panels.

Typical crystalline silicon solar panels are made of 65-75% glass, 10-15% aluminum frame, 10% plastic and 3-5% silicon. The new plant does not recycle thin-film solar panels, which is only a small part of the French market.

Veolia said its goal is to recycle all of France's decommissioned PV panels and hopes to use this experience to build similar recycling plants abroad.
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