M2i has been asked by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Province of South Holland (PSH) to conduct a study with the aim of mapping existing material knowledge for the reuse and recycling of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and foils. In the coming decades, a fast growing number of PV products will be discarded after the first use phase. At the same time, the PV value chain will have to be fully circular by 2050. This requires solutions for circular design, reuse and recycling.

Technically, 80 to 90% of the mass of discarded solar panels can already be recycled, mainly by use as raw materials in other industries such as the glass, aluminum and semiconductor industry. However, a significant effort is needed to achieve 100% circularity within the PV value chain, which will only be the case when all materials and components maintain their initial value and no additional primary materials are needed when producing new solar panels.

RVO and PSH have put circular PV high on their agendas and have asked M2i to map out the material knowledge in this field. A small project has been started in November 2020 that focuses on:

  1. Mapping existing knowledge partners for PV materials
  2. Exploring circular strategies for PV products and components
  3. Identification of unfulfilled knowledge questions with respect to circular PV
  4. Mapping of actual data, such as the number of PV installations in the Netherlands and South Holland, the estimated composition, when will they be discarded, what are end-of-life options?
  5. Knowledge questions of industry; what is needed to set up successful pilots?

For questions please contact M2i program manager Harald Kerp, phone: 06 – 2505 7505.