The State Government has invested more than $1 million to better manage their solar system waste, including old solar panels and battery storage systems.
The Circular Solar program is designed to ignite innovative re-use projects that prevent solar systems ending up in landfill.
Energy Minister Matt Kean said Australia has a rapidly increasing waste stream.
“The take-up of solar and other household renewables in NSW and Australia is among the highest in the world,” Mr Kean said.
“That huge take-up of cheap, reliable, renewable energy means we have a rapidly increasing waste stream as panels reach the end of their operational life.
“While current amounts of waste are low, the volume of solar panels and associated battery storage system waste is forecast to reach 3,000 - 10,000 tonnes per year by 2025 and 40,000 – 71,000 tonnes per year by 2035,” said Mr Kean.
Mr Kean believes now is the time to invest in system which will collect and recycle the valuable resources, so that they can be reused.
“…we can keep these valuable resources out of the tip and drive a productive circular economy,” he said.
Two projects in regional NSW have received grants to help with their innovative recycling ideas:
Blue Tribe was allocated $215,000 to trial the use of decommissioned solar panels in a community solar project and to test the feasibility of a secondary marketplace for recycled panels.
The Solar Professionals gained close to $946,000 to develop technology that dismantles end of life solar panels into uncontaminated components and test the use of solar panel glass in greenhouses.
There is a second round of grant funding available in September for a variety of projects which fit into three categories: new and expanded infrastructure, research and development for reuse, second hand or refurbished items, and market development for recovered materials or collection and recovery logistics.
The Circular Solar program is part of the NSW Government’s plan to manage this emerging waste type by establishing a $10 million fund to reduce landfilling of solar panels and battery systems.
For more information on the program visit https://epa.nsw.gov.au/working-together/grants/infrastructure-fund/circular-solar-trials