The French environmental services provider Veolia announced it will build a solar module recycling facility at its industrial site in Rousset, Bouches-du-Rhône, southern France.
The facility will be operated by the company’s unit Triade Electronique under a 4-year contract awarded by PV CYCLE, the Pan-European take-back and recycling association.
Veolia stressed that secondary raw materials such as glass, aluminium and copper will be re-injected into their respective industries on the basis of the principles of the circular economy.
Recycled PV materials could be worth $15bn by 2050, according to a study published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agencys Photovoltaic Power Systems Program (IEA-PVPS) in June 2016.
The report found that the potential material influx provided by the estimated 78 million tonnes of PV waste by 2050 could produce two billion new panels, and thus increase the security of future PV supply or other raw material-dependent products.
To reach these projections, the industry must adopt greater PV-specific waste regulation, expand existing waste management infrastructure to include end-of-life treatment of PV panels, and promote ongoing innovation in panel waste management, the report suggests.