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AES, a project developer, has entered into a recycling services agreement with solar panel recycler SolarCycle. They have also initiated a pilot program to evaluate the management of damaged and retired solar panels within AES’s portfolio. Through this agreement, AES will be able to send such panels to SolarCycle’s recycling facility in Odessa, Texas for responsible recycling and repurposing.
SolarCycle’s facility is anticipated to have the capacity to process one million panels by the fourth quarter of 2023, generating over 100 jobs in the process.
Leo Moreno, President of AES Clean Energy, emphasized the importance of supporting domestic supply chains to strengthen U.S. energy security. He highlighted AES’s commitment to sustainable business practices, stating that this agreement represents a significant stride toward establishing a thriving secondary market for end-of-life solar materials. Ultimately, AES aims to contribute to the development of a robust domestic circular solar economy.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted research revealing that recycled panels and materials could contribute to meeting 25-30% of the United States’ domestic solar manufacturing needs by 2040. SolarCycle, known for its patented technology, has the capability to extract over 95% of a solar panel’s value, creating an opportunity to reuse critical materials for the widespread adoption of clean energy. Recognizing the potential, the U.S. Department of Energy granted SolarCycle a $1.5 million research grant, in collaboration with NREL, to further refine processes and optimize the value of recovered materials.
Suvi Sharma, CEO and co-founder of SolarCycle, expressed enthusiasm about partnering with AES, one of America’s largest solar asset owners, for the pilot program. The initiative aims to evaluate AES’s current and future recycling requirements, showcasing AES’s proactive commitment to developing a sustainable and domestic supply chain for the growing solar energy industry.
The first phase of the program commenced in April, involving the transportation of decommissioned panels from an AES facility in Arizona to SolarCycle’s Texas facility. After processing, valuable materials will be sent to trusted domestic material off-takers, including local companies in Texas. AES is actively assessing its recycling needs to enhance the circularity of solar materials throughout their lifecycle.
It is worth noting that SolarCycle has an existing recycling partnership with Silicon Ranch, a prominent large-scale solar project developer.
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