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Closing the solar panel loop in Germany

Germany – SolarWorld AG, one of the leading manufacturers of solar panels, has established a joint venture for the production of metal products and other valuable materials that are made from recycled solar modules.

SolarWorld will hold a 24% stake in SolarCycle GmbH while its partners will include the Preiss-Daimler Chemical Park among others.

The new venture will be headquartered at the Bitterfeld/Wolfen Chemical Park in Sachsen-Anhalt. Construction of its largely automated plant will begin this autumn and total investment will amount to Euro 12.7 million over two stages.

Dr Karsten Warmbach, head of the material business division of SolarWorld, explains: ‘In the past four years, the Freiberg recycling team, while operating the pilot plant at Freiberg, has been puzzling over the concept for a second generation module recycling plant. We are therefore particularly delighted that we can now employ this technology even more universally for the generation of metals from secondary sources and for the treatment of compound materials. The separation techniques necessary to achieve high purity levels and the best possible yields will proceed largely automatically.’ The technology will make it possible to process up to 30 000 tons of recycling material per year in the future and to convert it into numerous new products, he adds.

Completion of the first phase of the plant is scheduled for the end of 2012. The new facility will be capable of processing not only crystalline solar modules but also other solar module types and compound materials.

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