"Urban Mining": Revitalizing Solar Panels

Dec 26, 2023 03:23 PM ET
  • Reuse and recycle: We Recycle Solar has created an 'urban mining' process to upcycle old solar panels, reclaiming up to 99% of their components and creating a profitable, sustainable industry.

As the world moves away from fossil fuels, the challenge of what to do with old or worn-out solar panels becomes increasingly pressing. We Recycle Solar, an Arizona-based company, has developed an innovative 'urban mining' process to tackle this issue. The process recovers silver, copper, aluminum, glass and silicone from the panels, and up to 99% of the materials can be recycled. However, the cost of removal and recycling is often imposed on the end user, which can make it unviable. Business leader Adam Saghei believes that by reusing materials from old panels, the industry can become profitable and sustainable.

How Can We Profitably Recycle Solar Panels?

  • Collecting PV modules with photovoltaic cells intact for reuse in off-grid applications
  • Creating secondary markets for used solar panels instead of them ending up in landfill
  • Utilizing safe recycling processes that maximize the recovery of reusable components
  • Developing new technologies that allow for the disassembly of solar panels into their component parts
  • Applying new technologies to the recycling process, such as using robots to separate and categorize components
  • Working with manufacturers to determine the best ways to decommission and recycle their products
  • Encouraging the reuse of components in new construction projects
  • Working with local governments to develop incentives for recycling solar panels
  • Investing in research and development to create new materials and manufacturing processes that make solar panels more environmentally friendly
  • Educating the public on the importance of proper disposal of solar panels and other electronic waste


Solar Installers, Manufacturers