Growth potential for PV recycling

During the event, organized by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and PV Cycle, the 200 plus delegates were told that while all 80 tons of PV modules requested to be picked up ?by PV Cycle were recycled, there were a potential 6,000 tons that could have been included.

However, despite the current low volumes, the figures were encouraging, and have provided time to work out the details before larger volumes arrive.

European module producers said they believe in the huge growth potential for PV recycling, and the economic, social, and environmental reasons for recycling modules. Almost 90 percent of the module producers have joined as PV Cycle members to date, funding the current recycling efforts.

Costs, profitability, and funding were the top questions discussed this year. First Solar presented logistical cost models from six zip codes across Germany, showing the lowest per kilogram costs when a joint collection scheme is used.

Furthermore, PV Cycle discussed the advantages and disadvantages for pre-financing, pay as you go, and blended systems for funding recycling efforts, concluding that a pay as you go system makes most sense for the future.

PV Cycle’s proactive recycling program covers modules that have been sold and placed into use. Thin film module recyclers demonstrated the positive efforts they are taking while waiting for volumes of waste to hit, such as developing their capabilities and presenting recycling results based on production scrap, which is more abundant now than panels damaged or at the end of their lives.

Watch out for the February edition of pv magazine, which will cover the topic in more depth.