24-25 Jul 2024

$10 million commitment by NSW for solar panel recycling

Aug 26, 2020

The NSW Government is investing $10 million to boost solar panel recycling in a move to help improve environmental performance in diverting end-of-life solar panel systems from landfill.

Recent times have seen an increasing number of NSW residents and businesses turn to solar panel power systems to aid in reducing energy costs and better improve environmental performance.

And although numbers show waste volumes are currently still relatively low, solar panel waste is an emerging waste stream that is expected to increase at a rapid rate over the next decade, with installed systems due to reach the end of their life cycle at this time.

For NSW, it is forecasted that the solar panel waste stream will generate up to 10,000 tonnes annually by 2025, with up to 71,000 tonnes per year by 2035.

Kathy Guinta, EPA Circular Economy Director, noted that the Circular Solar grants program offered from this investment by the NSW Government would help the state reach its goal of net zero C02 emissions by 2050.

“While current amounts of waste are low, now is the time invest in developing systems for collecting and recycling these valuable resources like scarce and rare metals, including lithium batteries” said Kathy Guinta.

“We want to recycle and re-use the materials in solar panels and battery systems as NSW transitions towards cleaner energy, and this program is an important step in building a productive circular economy in NSW” she continued.

The NSW Government are inviting expressions of interest for grants to run trial projects focused on increasing the collection, reuse and recycling of solar panel and battery storage systems.

$2 million is available in the the first funding round, with applications now open for projects trialing whole supply chain approaches to the collection and reuse and/or recycling processes.

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