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Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Module Recycling

Technology Overview

A typical PV module has a technical lifetime of 20-25 years. With the enormous amount of PV modules already installed, and the increasing growth of the solar PV industry, effective measures in an environmentally responsible manner need to be established to handle thelarge volumes of waste when the PV modules reach their end of life. It is projected that globally, the number of discarded PV modules has reached several thousand metric tonnes per year. This technology is related to the development of novelindustrial processes toreclaim of PV modules. Precious materials such as silicon, silver, copper and aluminum can be reclaimed and reused. We make solar energy even greener through a reduced module carbon footprint and demonstrate the positive environmental impact of module recycling. Potential benefits include the following: Green technology – low hazardous and environmental friendly Cost saving – reduce chemical usage and power consumption High reclaim efficiency – reclaim more materials

Technology Features & Specifications

The features and specifications are as follow: A pilot scale recycling process has been developed for recycling PV modules. Starting from full-sized PV module, the whole process comprises the following steps: (a) disassembly and reclaimof aluminium (Al) frames and junction box, (b) removal of back sheet and encapsulating materials, in order to reclaim the tempered glass and copper ribbons, (c) leaching and recovery of silver (Ag) and Al, and (d) leaching of anti-reflection layer in order to recover the substrate silicon (Si) wafers. The recycling process for PV modules allows the reuseof most of the PV module components, which are the Si wafers, Ag, copper, Al, and glass. The recycling process is low-cost, highly efficient and environmental friendly. More than 90% of the following materials in value can be recovered: Aluminum Frame Glass panel Silicon wafer Silver powder/ingot Aluminium layer on Wafer Ribbon Back sheet (PET) Junction Box/Copper Industry scale process: Low cost Large scale and continuous Fast and high efficiency Environmental friendly process: NO Hydrofluoric acid (HF) used NO Cyanide used NO Aqua regia used MINIMUMchemical used (reusable)

Potential Applications

The potential applications are: The process allows for the efficient recycling of PV modules It provides for anway for PV owners toaddress waste management issue It provides for an efficient method for recoveringhigh value items like the silcon wafer, silver powder / ingotfrom the PV modules

Customer Benefits

The benefits are as follow: Reduce Landfill Waste – Less materials to the landfill ResourceRecovery – Recycling preventsdepletion of earth’s resources Energy Efficiency – The recycling processes use less energy than manufacturing solar panels from virgin materials Reduction inEnvironmental pollution – prevent disposal of heavy metals, such as lead and silver Jobs Creation– The recycling industry generates jobs, almost six times as many jobs as landfill disposal

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