Free Solar Panel Recycling For Greater Bendigo

Solar panel recycling in Bendigo

Residents of Greater Bendigo who have solar panels they wish to dispose of are now able to do so for free.

As solar panels increasingly appear in landfills (for now) as a result of cheap and nasty solar, system upgrades and to a lesser degree old age, some councils are charging fees for disposal.

But through an agreement between the City of Greater Bendigo and Solar Recovery Corporation, Eaglehawk Landfill and Strathfieldsaye/Heathcote Transfer Stations now have dedicated drop-off points accepting all types of solar panels for free – assuming they aren’t broken or smashed.

“The City of Greater Bendigo is committed to keeping valuable resources out of landfill and is pleased to have teamed up with Solar Recovery Corporation to provide a free, responsible management process for solar panels that are at the end of their life,” said City of Greater Bendigo Resource Recovery and Education Manager Brooke Pearce.

Unfortunately, the free service is not available to solar installers.

About Solar Recovery Corporation (SRC)

Solar Recovery Corporation is an Australian-owned company operating in partnership with Italy’s La Mia Energia (LME). LME has racked up quite a few years on the panel recycling scene, manufacturing technology specifically built to process end-of-life panels.

Headquartered in Melbourne, SRC has facilities in Biloela and Townsville in Queensland that were due to be fully operational in March this year (it’s not clear whether they are yet).

Technology used in SRC’s process includes a machine that separates the aluminium frame, junction box and cables from solar panels, then an automated robotic process to complete disassembly and sorting. Among the materials reclaimed for use are glass, plastic, silicon, copper and aluminium.

“We have a 12-year successful history in the European market with a 99+% material recovery rate,” says SRC.

The company states the patented technology recovers materials from all types of panels without the use of shredding, crushing, hydrometallurgy, chemicals, thermal processing or pyrolysis.

Solar Panel Recycling In Australia

Solar Recovery Corporation isn’t the only show in town for panel recycling/materials recovery in Australia – a few other companies are either gearing up or have commenced operations. There have also been directives at a Federal Government level that will help ensure solar panels appearing in Australian landfills become a non-issue in the not-too-distant future.

As well as a national industry-led scheme to be put in place, individual manufacturers have been making headway under their own steam.

For example, we recently reported Maxeon Solar Technologies and Reclaim PV Recycling have teamed up to support the recycling of SunPower panels from Maxeon in Australia. Maxeon’s recently extended warranty indicates the company’s confidence in its modules and many SunPower Maxeon solar panels could wind up outliving many of their owners. But when these panels do eventually reach the end of their service life, it’s encouraging to know they should have a place to go.

Another issue being addressed is a significant proportion of unwanted panels still have useful service life left in them. Standards to support a second-hand solar market in Australia are currently being developed.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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