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Veolia and PV Cycle join forces to green France’s growing solar sector

France – Around 55 000 tonnes of PV panels were installed in France last year, representing 6.8GW, so estimates non-profit waste management association PV Cycle. To tackle this growing waste stream, it has entered into a partnership with Veolia to set up the first-ever PV recycling facility in France.

The brand-new PV panel recycling plant will process 1400 tonnes of material per year from 2017 and up to 4000 tonnes by 2021.

It will be located in Rousset in the Bouches-du-Rhône of southern France, and the recovered materials are to be used in various other sectors including aluminium, glass and copper.

The two companies point out that France’s Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy is driving the country’s PV market – for example, by investing in solar roads – so the PV sector will likely reach 20.2 GW by 2023.

‘This first unit dedicated to recycling used photovoltaic panels is part of the high value-added strategy in our sector, recovering nearly 96% of materials while reducing the environmental impact of the collection process,’ comments Nicolas Defrenne, chief executive of PV Cycle France.

He declares that the venture will help solar plant owners comply with the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, which calls for the recycling of PV panels at end-of-life stage.

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