Japanese companies Marubeni and Sompo Japan have signed a memorandum of understanding for the appropriate reuse and recycling of used solar panels. Insurance provider Sompo will provide defect warranties for used solar panels that general trading company Marubeni will then start selling in 2023.
The partnership will establish a system under which used PV modules will first be inspected by Marubeni for performance and reuse feasibility and details placed on a information management platform. Marubeni will collect information on the panels’ history from the time of disposal. It will verify the traceability and authenticity of this information using blockchain technology, according to a company statement.
If Marubeni judges the used modules’ quality is adequate for reuse, Sompo will then issue them with a warranty for second-use, called a defect warranty by the partners. The companies did not disclose the duration of this warranty.
Marubeni plans to start selling the second-life panels in 2023. “This marks the first time in Japan that a defect warranty for used solar panels has been provided through a platform,” it said in a statement.
Some of the panels that do not pass reusability inspection will be recycled instead, and will be acquired and recycled through a subsidiary, Sompo Risk Management. The recycling process will be executed in collaboration with Marubeni's information management platform. “Reuse and recycle through the scheme are expected to lead to the recycling of raw materials and a reduction in the amount of industrial waste sent to landfills,” the statement says.
The information management platform was established in June 2021 as part of a resource recycling scheme by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment.
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