Innovation That Matters

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State-of-the-art recycling for solar panels

Agriculture & Energy

A startup is making solar power even more sustainable by repurposing old solar panels


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Spotted: Solar panels have been vital in the push to combat climate change. But many panels are reaching the end of their lifespan much faster than previously expected. To tackle the issue, Oakland-based company Solarcycle offers owners of solar technologies an affordable and environmentally friendly platform for getting rid of old solar panels so that they may be repurposed for new uses.  

The company’s proprietary technology allows it to extract 95 per cent of a solar panel’s valuable materials, including silver, silicon, copper, and aluminium, recycling them so that they can be returned to the solar panel supply chain and used again. Solarcycle also works alongside residential, commercial, industrial, and utility companies to recycle solar systems at scale.  

The company is currently on track to have capacity to recycle one million solar panels per year by the end of 2023. Next year, Solarcycle also hopes to open a vertically integrated, advanced factory that is capable of recycling millions of panels every year. 

Solarcycle recently closed a $30 million (around €27.6 million) series A funding round, which the company will use to finance its growing recycling capacity and expand materials remanufacturing capabilities. 

Solar energy is being used in many ways around the world. Springwise has spotted a portable solar fridge for delivering vaccines to rural communities in Kenya, and a glass brick for buildings that also generates solar power.

Written By: Anam Alam



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