Here’s how North America’s first utility-scale solar recycling plant is ramping up for the clean energy boom

We Recycle Solar is deploying new machinery and technology to quadruple its processing capacity to 522 million pounds per year by 2028.

We Recycle Solar, which is permitted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to handle hazardous secondary materials that come from solar panels, removes, decommissions, recycles, and processes the panels for reuse.

Founded in August 2019, the company has recycled or remarketed more than 500,000 end-of-life solar panels to date, diverting 23 million pounds of hazardous solar panel waste from landfills. It says its 75,000-square-foot Yuma, Arizona, factory currently has the capacity to process 7,500 modules, or 345,000 pounds, for recycling and reuse in a day and 69 million pounds in a single year.

We Recycle Solar CEO Adam Saghei explains its latest upgrade:

We’ve not only increased processing speed and volume capacity enough to tackle roughly 25% of the current national need for recycling – we’ve also expanded our specialized solar handling teams, resulting in a breakage reduction of up to 30% at the time of decommissioning, which significantly increases the amount of PV panels we’re able to repurpose for the resale market.

The company claims it now has the “highest processing capacity in the nation, with the ability to process panels of every make and model, from any manufacturer, including those that are severely damaged, at a rate of up to 10 panels per minute.”

The EPA reports that “by 2030, the United States is expected to have as much as 1 million total tons of solar panel waste. For comparison, the total generation of US municipal solid waste in 2018 was 292.4 million tons.”

Check out We Recycle Solar’s panel recycling process in this short video below:

Read more: This solar + storage system is made up of 1,300 second-life EV batteries

Photos: We Recycle Solar


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