Oakland, California (Nov. 15, 2023) — SOLARCYCLE is pleased to announce that its Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Dr. Pablo Dias, has co-released a groundbreaking new study on how to reduce carbon emission intensity from the solar industry by 85% through circular practices.
The solar industry is experiencing exponential growth in global installations, which are projected to skyrocket worldwide from 1 TW in 2022 to over 63 TW by 2050. To meet the world's climate targets, it is critical to minimize the overall environmental impact of any large, global industry — including solar.
Solar is one of the least carbon-intensive electricity producers. While energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from solar panel operations are small to minimal, the manufacturing process has a carbon footprint that needs to be addressed in order for the solar industry to become even more sustainable.
This new study found that if industry deploys circular economy strategies for solar, it can address the emissions associated with manufacturing and deployment. For example, by decarbonizing the solar supply chain, reusing and optimizing materials like aluminum and concrete, and using green technology, the global warming potential (GWP) can be reduced by a staggering 85%.
Dias, a co-author and one of the world's leading recycling researchers, said, “We have come a long way in the last few years with clean energy deployment, but we need a lot more solar installed if we are to achieve net zero by 2050. Offsetting the carbon emissions related to this huge undertaking is an important step to ensure our industry is even greener. This paper shows a roadmap of how to achieve it, and the main levers we can pull to get there rapidly. Our climate depends on it.”
Previous research by Cornell University found that reshoring solar panel manufacturing to the US could cut GHG emissions by 30%, given the world's outsized reliance on fossil fuel intensive manufacturing from countries like China.
SOLARCYCLE is using the roadmap outlined in the article to help fully decarbonize the industry, including partnering with leading solar companies to recycle panels, reusing extracted and refined materials for the domestic supply chain, and powering its facilities with renewable energy.
SOLARCYCLE is a technology-driven platform designed to maximize solar sustainability by offering solar asset owners a low-cost, eco-friendly, comprehensive process for recycling retiring solar panels and technologies and repurposing them for new uses. The company’s proprietary technology allows it to extract 95% of a solar panel’s valuable materials, such as silver, silicon, copper and aluminum, and to recycle or repurpose panels for new uses. Experts in solar technology, recycling and sustainability founded SOLARCYCLE in 2022 to accelerate the circular economy for solar and renewables. Learn more: www.solarcycle.us