Greenbacker, which owns nearly 1GW of solar, makes a deal to recycle it all

Power producer Greenbacker Energy Company today announced an exclusive, long-term partnership with solar panel recycler SOLARCYCLE to recycle its decommissioned solar panels.

The new partnership provides Greenbacker’s fleet – which currently includes over 975 megawatts (MW) of operating solar projects – with a committed partner to recycle, and it provides SOLARCYCLE with a contracted volume of end-of-life panels that will help scale its recycling operations and thus reduce costs, as well as build out a domestic solar supply chain.

SOLARCYCLE asserts that its technology allows for the extraction of 95% of the value from recycled panels, including silver, silicon, copper, aluminum, and glass from recycled panels, a significant increase over the industry standard, which is currently below 50%.

Shannon Scarbrough, Greenbacker’s sustainability program manager, said, “Through this collaboration, we’re supporting green jobs, supply chain resilience, and a circular clean energy economy, while continuing to serve one of our core values: responsible environmental stewardship.”

SOLARCYCLE will be employing tailored recycling solutions at a number of Greenbacker assets, including two of its largest solar projects in New York State, the utility-scale Albany 1 and Albany 2 projects (both 25 MWdc). Greenbacker and its affiliates have 500 solar assets across 33 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC.

In May, Solarcycle received $1.5 million from the US Department of Energy to work with the National Renewable Energy Lab to research how to extract higher-quality and higher-purity metals and materials from recycled solar panels for reuse in domestic solar manufacturing.

Current estimates from SOLARCYCLE’s Texas facility have shown that 1 old watt of recycled solar can be transformed into 1.4 new watts, which SOLARCYCLE says means that the US will be able to endlessly recycle old panels into new panels.

Read more: This solar + storage system reuses 1300 EV batteries

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