Odessa, TX – Ørsted, a leading clean energy company, announced today a new partnership with SOLARCYCLE, a technology-based solar recycling company, to process and recycle Ørsted’s end-of-life solar modules from its projects across the U.S. The recycling services agreement supports Ørsted’s global commitment, effective immediately, to reuse or recycle 100 percent of solar panels that reach end-of-life status, a first-of-its-kind commitment in the industry.
SOLARCYCLE opened its recycling facility in Odessa, Texas in 2022. This agreement builds on Ørsted’s existing recycling contract for thin-film modules signed with First Solar in 2021. While Ørsted’s U.S. solar projects are still in the early stages of their lifetime, Ørsted has already recycled 4,000 panels. The SOLARCYCLE agreement provides Ørsted with a portfolio-wide recycling solution for crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar modules so that all of Ørsted’s projects have recycling coverage.
“Solar energy is an integral part of Ørsted’s growing land-based portfolio and is one of the most powerful technologies we have to produce the clean energy our communities and business partners need,” said David Hardy, Group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted. “As a leader in sustainability, we are thrilled to work with such an innovative American company to ensure c-Si solar modules are disposed of properly and to support a company spearheading solutions on behalf of the solar industry. Not only does this advance sustainability for Ørsted and the industry, but it also strengthens the American renewable energy supply chain.”
The volume of end-of-life panels is expected to increase as the market for solar installations continues to grow. Today, less than 10 percent of all end-of-life modules are currently recycled in the U.S., but new companies, like SOLARCYCLE, are using advanced technology to help the industry develop best practices for end-of-life management that are sustainable.
Recycling solar modules can contribute to a domestic supply of materials essential to the production of new solar panels, including glass, silicon, and valuable metals such as silver, copper, and aluminum. This reduces waste and mining of raw resources that must be extracted and refined. In 2022, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that for some materials, recycling can meet at least 25-30 percent of domestic solar manufacturing needs in the United States by 2040.
“Ørsted’s 100 percent commitment to recycling their solar projects in the U.S. and globally is notable and the first-of-its-kind. Their leadership is walking the walk, and we are grateful to collaborate with their team to meet their circular economy goals,” said Suvi Sharma, CEO and Co-Founder of SOLARCYCLE. “Today’s announcement also demonstrates that the industry no longer sees recycling as an afterthought, but it is rapidly becoming the norm to plan for end-of-life practices years in advance.”
SOLARCYCLE’s recycling technology can extract 95 percent of the value from solar panels. As panels arrive at the facility, SOLARCYCLE evaluates whether they can be used secondhand on site. If a panel cannot be reused, SOLARCYCLE runs the panel through its advanced recycling process. The aluminum frame and junction box are removed, the glass is delaminated, and the remaining panel is shredded. The shredded materials go through a proprietary process to recover valuable metals, such as silver and copper, and separate the plastics. The company returns materials back to the supply chain, including to domestic solar manufacturers.
Investing in solar recycling solutions will lead to a lower environmental footprint from upstream activities, including mining and processing, while creating more clean energy jobs downstream. This industry-leading partnership will contribute towards a circular use of resources, ensure the availability of critical materials needed for clean energy technologies, and fuel the growth of the U.S. solar manufacturing industry.
A global clean energy leader, Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and land-based wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, and bioenergy plants. Ørsted is the only energy company in the world with a science-based net-zero emissions target as validated by the Science Based Targets initiative.
In the United States, the company has approximately 650 employees and a growing portfolio of clean energy assets and partnerships that includes offshore wind energy, land-based wind energy, solar, storage technologies and e-fuels. A leader across the renewable energy sector in the United States, Ørsted holds the top position in offshore wind energy with approximately 5 gigawatts in development and operates America’s first offshore wind farm, located off the coast of Block Island. Ørsted has a total U.S. land-based capacity of 5 gigawatts across wind, solar, storage technologies and e-fuels. To learn more about the Ørsted U.S. business, visit us.Ørsted.com or follow the company on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ØrstedUS).
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. www.SOLARCYCLE.us.