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Recycle or repair? Australia clearing out old PV modules

Australian firm Reclaim PV Recycling has partnered up with Maxeon Solar Technologies to take-back its solar panels across the country. PV modules in good condition will be saved from the shredder; they will be repaired and reused or resold.

Maxeon, which has its headquarters in Singapore and operates in 100+ countries worldwide, says it is eager to expand its sustainability efforts. The company was able to recycle around 80% of its waste in 2021.

Besides, its SunPower brand PV modules are cradle-to-cradle certified (bronze category) while its production hub in Mexico sends only 1% and 10% of material to a landfill and waste-to-energy facility, respectively.

This business deal follows Reclaim PV’s collaboration with the Circular PV Alliance (CPVA), announced in May. The two Australian organisations will work together to develop standards and testing procedures to support the reuse and resale of decommissioned solar panels.

‘As there is no legislation in place in Australia to govern the reuse of panels, we believe this agreement is the first step in establishing a second-hand PV market in Australia,’ comments Clive Fleming, director of Reclaim PV. ‘One with the appropriate certification to keep the industry to a high standard when it comes to the testing and verification of panels for reuse.’

Co-founder of CPVA, Megan Jones observes that the country’s circular economy pertaining to solar energy is largely in its infancy. ‘An industry-led approach to facilitate the transition to a circular economy is one of the core tenets of our alliance. It is the basis for our project with Reclaim PV, which we hope will set the pathway for industry to get on board.’

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