EDF North America has forged a strategic agreement with Solarcycle, a specialized solar recycling firm, to recycle damaged or broken solar modules originating from their utility-scale, distribution-scale, and on-site solar installations. EDF Renewables, in a press release, highlighted the scope of this partnership, which includes modules damaged during both construction and operation phases. However, the long-term plans for the end-of-life framework, and whether it entails alternatives to landfill disposal, remain undisclosed.
The decision to collaborate with Solarcycle was grounded in the firm's renowned high-value recycling process. Solarcycle's innovative recycling approach focuses on extracting maximum value from photovoltaic (PV) modules, specifically by reclaiming valuable materials like silver, copper, glass, and aluminum from the module frames. This approach is designed to make recycling financially viable for asset owners. Remarkably, Solarcycle's processes allow for the recovery of 95% of the value from a recycled panel, a significant leap from the industry standard of under 50%. The raw materials reclaimed from EDF Renewables' projects will be reintegrated into the supply chains of the burgeoning solar manufacturing industry in North America.
Edgar Puerto, Associate Director of Strategic Procurement at EDF Renewables, emphasized the company's commitment to developing recycling capabilities for their clean energy assets, commencing with solar modules. This strategy is viewed as a pivotal step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and stimulating the emergence of a domestic supply chain for American-made solar products.
Jesse Simons, Chief Commercial Officer and Co-founder of Solarcycle, expressed pride in the partnership with EDF Renewables, highlighting the extensive evaluation process and due diligence undertaken. Simons suggested that this announcement should serve as a signal to other global companies that recycling technology is readily available, with Solarcycle being the preferred choice for organizations dedicated to safety, quality, environmental compliance, sustainability, and cost-efficiency.
Based in Texas, Solarcycle has also entered into strategic agreements with prominent US developers and asset owners, including Silicon Ranch, AES Corporation, and Danish developer Ørsted. However, it is important to note that, at present, a substantial portion of damaged or end-of-life solar panels are not subjected to recycling processes, underscoring the importance of initiatives like the one introduced by EDF Renewables and Solarcycle.