We Recycle Solar, Inc., North America’s first vertically-integrated organisation specialising in the recycling and remarketing of excess, damaged, and end-of-life solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, has expanded its Arizona-based operation in Yuma to tackle the growing environmental challenge of solar panel waste.
In 2016, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimated that cumulative solar panel waste volume would reach up to 1 million t globally by 2030, and 78 million t by 2050, based on an average PV lifespan of 30 years. However, as early solar panel replacement becomes more and more widespread, discarded solar panels are flooding US landfills – where they can contaminate soil and groundwater with toxic heavy metals and carcinogens including arsenic, lead, and cadmium – at rates that far outpace previous forecasts.
Headquartered in Yuma, Arizona, We Recycle Solar specialises in the highly-technical task of solar panel removal, decommissioning, recycling, and processing for reuse and is the nation’s only solar recycler fully permitted by the federal EPA to handle hazardous secondary materials generated by solar panels.
Founded in August 2019 by a team of infrastructure and environmental entrepreneurs, We Recycle Solar has recycled or remarketed more than 500 000 end-of-life solar panels to date, diverting 23 million lbs of hazardous solar panel waste from landfills.
Now, with the addition of new lines of machinery and enhanced technology, We Recycle Solar’s full scale PV recycling plant boasts the highest processing capacity in the nation, with the ability to process panels of every make and model, from any manufacturer, including those that are severely damaged, at a rate of up to 10 panels per minute.
In a single day, We Recycle Solar’s utility scale 75 000 ft2 Yuma facility has the capacity to process 7500 modules, or 345 000 lbs, for recycling and reuse, and 69 million lbs in a single year, with plans to quadruple capacity to 522 million lbs by 2028.
“Cumulative solar waste is an enormous environmental issue facing our planet, and it could be up to fifty times bigger, and get here five years sooner than previously expected,” added We Recycle Solar CEO, Adam Saghei. “We’ve not only increased processing speed and volume capacity enough to tackle roughly 25% of the current national need for recycling – we’ve also expanded our specialised solar handling teams, resulting in a breakage reduction of up to 30% at the time of decommissioning, which significantly increases the amount of PV panels we’re able to repurpose for the resale market.”
“We believe that sustainability in the American energy value chain can only be realised by empowering solar asset owners with a means of harnessing the economic value of their end-of-life panels,” concluded We Recycle Solar Vice President, AJ Orben. “Our vertically-integrated capabilities, including our full scale Yuma operation, aim to maximise resource value for all solar chain participants and ultimately position us to incentivise and serve major large scale businesses for the greatest possible impact.”
For more news and technical articles from the global renewable industry, read the latest issue of Energy Global magazine.
The Spring 2023 issue of Energy Global hosts an array of technical articles focusing on offshore wind, solar technology, energy storage, green hydrogen, waste-to-energy, and more. This issue also features a regional report on commodity challenges facing Asia’s energy transition.
Read the article online at: https://www.energyglobal.com/solar/17052023/we-recycle-solar-expands-operation-in-arizona/
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