The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) has signed a Recycling Services Agreement with SOLARCYCLE, a tech-driven recycling services company, and launched a pilot program to assess construction breakage and end-of-life solar panel waste across the company’s portfolio. Under the agreement, AES can send damaged or retired solar panels to SOLARCYCLE’s advanced, high-recovery recycling facility in Odessa, Texas to be responsibly recycled and repurposed.
The non-exclusive agreement supports the growing US solar manufacturing industry, driven by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), by increasing the domestic supply of recycled materials essential to the production of new solar panels, including glass, silicon, and valuable metals such as silver, copper, and aluminum. SOLARCYCLE’s facility will have the capacity to process one million panels by Q4 of 2023 and support more than 100 family-sustaining, clean energy jobs.
“To strengthen US energy security, we must continue to support domestic supply chains,” said Leo Moreno, President of AES Clean Energy. “As one of the world’s leading energy solution providers, AES is committed to sustainable business practices that accelerate these goals. This agreement is an important step in building a vibrant secondary market for end-of-life solar materials and getting us closer to a true domestic circular solar economy.”
Research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that by 2040, recycled panels and materials can expect to help meet 25-30 percent of the US’ domestic solar manufacturing needs. SOLARCYCLE’s patented technology extracts more than 95 percent of the value in a solar panel, providing an opportunity to reuse materials critical to the large-scale deployment of clean energy. Last month, the US Department of Energy awarded SOLARCYCLE a $1.5 million research grant to further test refinement processes and maximize the value of recovered materials, with support from NREL.
“SOLARCYCLE is excited to be working with AES - one of the largest solar asset owners in America - on this pilot program to assess their existing and future recycling needs. As demand for solar energy grows rapidly in the United States, it is critical to have proactive leaders like AES who are committed to developing a more sustainable and domestic supply chain for the solar industry,” said Suvi Sharma, CEO and co-founder of SOLARCYCLE. “Their leadership is transforming this emerging challenge into a massive opportunity that creates good jobs like the ones in our West Texas factory, while simultaneously making solar even more sustainable and our domestic supply chains even more resilient.”
In April, the companies launched the first phase of this initiative when SOLARCYCLE transported decommissioned panels from an AES facility in Arizona to their Odessa, Texas facility. The panels will be processed and value-added materials will be sent to vetted, domestic material off-takers, including several local companies in Texas. Across their US portfolio, AES is assessing current and projected recycling needs that will further enable solar material lifecycle circularity as the company continues to drive the clean energy transition in the United States.
The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) is a Fortune 500 global energy company accelerating the future of energy. Together with our many stakeholders, we’re improving lives by delivering the greener, smarter energy solutions the world needs. Our diverse workforce is committed to continuous innovation and operational excellence, while partnering with our customers on their strategic energy transitions and continuing to meet their energy needs today. For more information, visit www.aes.com.
SOLARCYCLE (www.solarcycle.us) 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. Experts in solar technology, recycling and sustainability founded SOLARCYCLE in 2022 to accelerate the circular economy for solar and renewables.