EDP Renewables launches ‘Close the Loop’ solar recycling program

EDP Renewables North America has announced the launch of its Close the Loop Program focused on keeping the environment front and center through more efficient use of resources and materials, promoting solutions that extend product lifecycle and ensuring responsibility for product materials and assets. The announcement comes on the heels of the company’s partnership with SOLARCYCLE, an advanced technology-based solar recycling company, alongside continuing work with 18 additional leaders in the recycling services sector throughout North America.

The move builds on EDP Renewables’ continued innovative approach to “future-proofing” its asset operations and ensuring the company’s sustainability practices span from development to the culminating production of clean electrons. In 2022, NREL found that with modest government support, recycled materials from the solar energy sector can meet at least 25-30% of domestic solar manufacturing needs in the United States by 2040. For the U.S. renewables industry to scale to its full potential, EDPR NA is supporting the advancement of U.S. renewable energy supply chains tied to a vibrant secondary market for recycled materials through the establishment of specific ESG targets.

“As an innovative solar recycling company with industry-leading technology that can recycle and recover over 95% of the valuable material from a solar panel, we are thrilled that EDP Renewables North America has chosen SOLARCYCLE as a top, trusted partner for its new Close the Loop Program,” said Suvi Sharma, CEO and Co-Founder of SOLARCYCLE. “With this new partnership, EDP is not only demonstrating its leadership on sustainability, but also joining us in our mission to build a more circular industry that strengthens the solar supply chain.”

Globally, EDP Renewables has set a target of 85% waste recovery by 2026 covering total waste during the construction, operational, and dismantling phases of its projects’ lifecycle, with an ambition to take that figure to 90% total waste recovered by 2030. This move comes as EDP Renewables aims to aid in global decarbonization goals laid out at COP28 through the deployment of more than 4 GW of new renewable energy assets per year, reaching 17 GW of gross additions by 2026.

“We’re excited to be ending the year focusing on tackling one of the key challenges our industry has had to date, namely the sustainability practices associated with recycling of materials during and post-construction of renewables projects,” stated Sandhya Ganapathy, CEO of EDP Renewables North America. “We have the opportunity to support and spotlight innovation and entrepreneurship through EDPR NA’s Close the Loop Program and look forward to delivering cutting-edge renewables projects that come with a full zero-waste circular economy in mind for hundreds of our customers nationwide.”

In addition to working with SOLARCYCLE, EDPR NA will be collaborating across the solar, wind, and storage sectors with several recycling leaders including ALAMO1Eco EnvironmentalERIEverpoint ServicesFabTech Solar SolutionsGreen Century RecyclingGreen Clean SolarLogisticus GroupOntility – powered by TerrePowerPowerhouse Recycling (dba Solarpanelrecycling.com)ReElement TechnologiesTPI CompositesVestasWe Recycle SolarWind Power Solutions, and WindWorx Renewable Services

Echo Environmental, ERI, FabTech, SOLARYCYCLE and We Recycle Solar have recycling facilities that have been endorsed by the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA’s) National PV Recycling Program. All Close the Loop solar-related participants are ISO 14001 compliant, which is a set of standards created to help companies around the world reduce their adverse impact on the environment. This standard in addition provides a framework for improved and more environmentally conscious quality management systems. Many of the participants are also ISO 9001 and ISO 45001 compliant, which ensures the protection of local communities, workers, and the environment. Lastly, several program partners are in the process of becoming R2 (Responsible Recycling Certification for PV Solar) compliant, tied to establishing responsible recycling practices for the recycling of electronics globally.

Through this collaboration, Close the Loop will aim to provide EDPR NA’s customers with a suite of tailored services to ensure materials are properly recycled following stringent environmental standards, accompanied by advanced and transparent environmental reporting showcasing net environmental benefits.

“We’re looking forward to our continued collaboration with EDP Renewables North America on the launch of their Close the Loop Program in supporting a truly circular economy focused on recycling,” said Janette Freeman, director of business development at Fabtech Solar Solutions. “As an innovative leader in the sector, we’re proud of their strides in the North American market and in their pushing the envelope to ensure high sustainability measures extend beyond construction to include the full project lifecycle of their solar, wind, and storage projects.”

The launch of the Close the Loop Program continues EDPR NA’s leadership in the market for its innovative approach to sustainability, having been recognized through several ESG and climate-related awards in 2023 including CohnReznick’s ESG Gamechangers Award and the GRIT ESG & Climate Champion Award by Ally Energy. In addition, the EDP Group was awarded Environmental Finance’s 2023 Company Award for “Circular Economy Transition of the Year – Global” and most recently was lauded as “the most sustainable electric utility in the world” with the highest score in the world amongst electric utilities as part of S&P’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA).

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