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First breakthrough in solar photovoltaic module recycling

picture: Rainer Sturm

Spain – Over 200 international photovoltaic (PV) and waste management experts from all around the world have participated in the “2nd International Conference on PV Module Recycling” held in Madrid, Spain. The second edition showcased the newest in PV module recycling and prompted an active discussion about the lessons learned from recycling schemes recently launched in Europe and abroad.

Participants had the opportunity to hear about the benefits of module recycling, recent technology development as well as all aspects related to its financial viability and ways to stimulate cost reduction by increasing end-of-life collection. In addition to presentations about silicon-based and CdTe technologies, CI(G)S PV module recycling was also included in the programme for the first time.

According to the EPIA, This is a major step forward for these PV technologies to fully embrace module recycling. “This year, we have been able to cover all major photovoltaic technologies and learned from the latest module recycling experiences from different parts of the world. Last but not least, the PV industry compared its experience with those from the recycling industry. These kinds of synergies are crucial so as to guarantee a successful future for PV module recycling,” stated EPIA’s Secretary General, Eleni Despotou.

Speakers included key names from some of the most important PV manufacturers and recycling companies of the world. Experts from the battery and glass sectors shared experiences and advice that can be applied to module recycling. This year, one of the sessions was dedicated exclusively to recycling experiences outside of Europe, namely in Japan and India. “It is very gratifying to see how such a young industry sector has come together strongly to take full responsibility for its products and make sure the adequate management systems are put in place at their end-of-life.

At the same time, the quality of take-back and recycling initiatives have improved significantly since the set-up of PV CYCLE’s system and technology is maturing quickly so we can expect many more key developments in the near future that will maximise efficiency and speed”, explained Jan Clyncke, PV CYCLE’s Managing Director. This conference was jointly organised by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and PV CYCLE, the European Association for Voluntary Take-Back and Recycling of Photovoltaic Modules, with the institutional support of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and within the frame of the International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA PVPS) Task 12.


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