On the Pitch last month, we learned about the value of second-life solar panels. Since then, another new PV recycling concept, SOLARCYCLE, has emerged to focus on collecting and upcycling these retired solar panels. SOLARCYCLE aims to partner with solar asset owners for end-of-life PV system solutions, and it has already landed the biggest partner one could find in residential solar: Sunrun.
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“As Sunrun deploys PV systems at the scale needed to confront the climate crisis, we’ve embraced the responsibility and opportunity of managing the full lifecycle of our hardware,” said Mary Powell, CEO, Sunrun. “We are committed to sustainable end-of-life processes and excited to partner with an innovative company that shares our vision and is dedicated to creating a circular supply chain for the solar industry.”
SOLARCYCLE, based in Northern California, was founded by experts with a diverse background in solar energy, such as Solaria, NEXTracker, Sierra Club and the University of New South Wales. The SOLARCYCLE team is leveraging that diverse background, and what they’d collectively learned from manufacturing modules, and applying that to giga-scale PV recycling.
“In doing so, we’re bolstering a circular economy that reuses existing domestic materials and minerals, and enhances the entire solar supply chain,” said Suvi Sharma, SOLARCYCLE’s co-founder and CEO.
SOLARCYCLE will be using second-life panels from Sunrun to develop new ways to test, reuse and upcycle retired solar panels. Hopefully this partnership will pave the way for a scalable solution that will be available to the entire industry by year’s end.
Key to SOLARCYCLE is “an advanced recycling solution that extracts the maximum value from every panel at the lowest possible cost,” says Pablo Dias, co-founder and CTO of SOLARCYCLE, who has extensive experience in e-waste and solar recycling. “Our proprietary processes allow us to recover more than 95% of the vital materials needed for the rapid transition towards 100% clean energy – including silicon, silver, copper and aluminum. By vertically integrating our operations into a factory that can process gigawatts of solar annually, we can radically reduce costs and the climate impacts of the recycling process,”
“Sustainability is vital to the continued success of solar power deployment worldwide,” said SOLARCYCLE co-founder and CCO Jesse Simons, who for 20 years led the Sierra Club’s efforts to move the world towards 100% clean energy before joining SOLARCYCLE. “Solar power is one of the most powerful tools humanity has in our fight against climate change. For solar to truly scale to its full potential, we need to create renewable supply chains and a vibrant secondary market for used panels and recycled materials.”
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