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Sustainability Victoria:

Circular Economy Markets Fund

Validating a new commercial pathway for solar panel glass

PV Industries logo

This project is supported by the Circular Economy Markets Fund. The Fund is delivered by Sustainability Victoria under the Victorian Government’s circular economy policy, Recycling Victoria: a new economy. 

PV Industries: Sustainability Victoria Circular Economy Markets Fund – Materials

PV Industries has been awarded $400,000 through the Victorian Government’s Circular Economy Markets Fund for our project “Validating a new commercial pathway for solar panel glass”.

Funded projects will help to:

  • Identify and develop new domestic uses for recyclable materials, including those that may otherwise go to landfill or be stockpiled.
  • Commercialise innovative products and processes that contain recycled materials and meet end user needs.
  • Improve confidence in, demand for and uptake of recycled products in Victoria.
  • Boost Victoria’s economy through local circular economy initiatives, helping businesses to grow in new ways, and creating new jobs.

The outcome of this project is to have a confirmed solar panel recycling plant design configuration that produces a glass product suitable and validated for commercial use in Victorian end-market applications. This will be done by establishing a commercial pilot plant which demonstrates a process to recover the glass from solar panels.

Project Outcomes:

  • University of NSW Centre for Infrastructure Engineering and Safety (UNSW CIES) will analyse the solar panel glass and validate its use in commercial applications
  • Connect with major infrastructure groups, manufacturers and clients to activate end-markets for recovered solar panel glass in the construction sector 
  • Secure regulatory validation for glass from solar panels to be used in construction applications
  • Generate recycling solutions to meet the Victorian Government’s e-waste landfill ban which includes solar panels.

Background Information:

Current processing options for end-of-life solar panels are immature and processing options used today are generally limited to frame and junction box recovery. Glass makes up the majority of a solar panel by weight so to achieve higher recovery rates there needs to be commercially viable end-markets for the glass. 

This project will demonstrate a new solar panel recycling process enabling the recovery of solar panel glass in a suitable form for reuse in end-markets. The glass will be tested and analysed to inform process design and ensure it meets required specifications for use by industry. 

“In collaboration with UNSW, PV Industries are completing the research and development which will see PV Glass become mainstream within the construction industry,” says Tom Witheridge, Head of Engineering and Operations of PV Industries. “We are really excited to work with the community to provide a new service for this problematic waste stream.”

The circular economy policy is part of the Victorian Government’s $515 million investment to deliver the biggest ever transformation of Victoria’s waste and recycling industry. 

More information on the Circular Economy Markets Fund: Materials can be found here
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Project Team

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