The U.S. solar panel recycling industry is steadily coming into focus, led in a big way by SOLARCYCLE. Founded in 2022, SOLARCYCLE currently operates facilities in Odessa, Texas, and Mesa, Arizona, and has inked long-term partnerships with more than 40 of the nation’s largest solar energy companies. The latest? Qcells.
Outside of First Solar, which recycles its own solar panels, this is the first partnership between a large solar manufacturer and an advanced solar recycler in the United States. Qcells operates the largest silicon-based solar panel factory in the United States, based in Dalton, Georgia. One in three solar panels installed on rooftops in America are made by Qcells.
“We are proud of the clean energy products we offer, but Qcells is committed to going further than that,” said Kelly Weger, Qcells’ Director of Sustainability. “We want our solar panels to not only help our customers cut costs and carbon, but also to be a part of building a more sustainable clean energy industry. Our partnership with SOLARCYCLE will give our panels a life after powering homes, businesses and communities, reducing waste and reusing pieces for all types of technology including solar.”
Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a deeper partnership between the two companies to fully close the loop on the solar circular economy. What’s more is Qcells’ plans for a fully U.S.-based supply chain — from polysilicon to solar panel. Securing this end-of-life plan, and reusing those materials, was the last piece of its U.S. solar supply puzzle.
“What is so exciting about this partnership with Qcells is how aligned we are on our common mission to build a circular economy for solar in America. When you look at the footprint of Qcells panels in commercial and residential solar across America, the impact of today’s partnership announcement is quite significant,” said Suvi Sharma, SOLARCYCLE’s CEO and co-founder. “Together, we can close the supply chain loop to ensure solar energy is manufactured and recycled in the U.S. using American labor and cutting-edge sustainability practices.”
How it works | SOLARCYCLE will begin to recycle Qcells’ decommissioned, owned and installed solar panels in the United States. Qcells will also refer its customers to its trusted partner for their own recycling needs.
SOLARCYCLE’s patented technology extracts more than 95% of the value in a solar panel module, far above the current industry standard of around 50%. Recycled materials from Qcells’ panels, such as aluminum, silver, copper, silicon and low-iron glass, will be reused in the domestic supply chain to manufacture the next generation of clean energy products.
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