Solar panel recycler leads Australia in emerging industry

AUSTRALIA’S only solar panel recycling company is looking to scale up production as the number of broken and end of life systems mounts.

Adelaide-based Reclaim PV has teamed up with major solar panel manufacturers who distribute in Australia and is refining its processes as well as lobbying for panels to be included in recycling regulations.

The company was started by Clive Fleming and David Galloway in 2014 and was spun out of Solar Maintenance and Renewable Technologies (SMART), which they launched in South Australia in 2011.

“We saw the need for the maintenance of solar. We saw a lot of sales happening but not a lot of after sales stuff, there was a vacant space,” Fleming said. “From there we saw a demand for recycling – we were removing a lot of modules from roofs and we were left with a big pile of about 600 panels.”

Recycled panels are not recirculated, they are dismantled using a Pyrolysis process developed to remove glues and recover glass, aluminium, solar cells and contacts.

“We’re trying to value add to the cells so they can be reused – not as solar panels – but in new self powered products,” Fleming said.

Solar panels generally have a 20 or 25-year warranty but a small percentage of the 23 million solar panels installed in Australia are damaged due to installation or transport handling faults, or develop new faults each year.
Galloway and Fleming are working with the a leading Australian research facility to get more value out of the recycled solar cells and streamline the dismantling process…

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