Sembcorp and Singapore Polytechnic to Collaborate on Solar Panel Recycling

Working together to address the global challenge of photovoltaic waste and commercialise Singapore’s first-ever technology for the recycling of used solar panels.

solar panel recycling

Around the world, solar energy is growing as a source of clean, renewable energy. However, this presents a pressing challenge to the industry: What will become of used solar panels at the end of their lifespan? By 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that the world will have 60 million tonnes of cumulative photovoltaic panel waste.

To help address this issue, Sembcorp, a leading utility, marine and urban development group and Singapore Polytechnic have agreed to collaborate on what is said to be Singapore’s first solar panel recycling process.

The parties will collaborate on commercialising the first-ever technology in Singapore for photovoltaic recycling. This innovative process developed locally by SP researchers, recovers resources from used solar panels, such as glass, silicon, and metals including silver and aluminium.

The partnership will work together to translate these solutions from laboratory to market and accelerate plans to develop a pilot recycling plant for solar panels. Once the technology proves commercially viable, the pilot plant can then serve as a potential prototype for large-scale recycling of used solar panels in Singapore, and beyond.

Commenting on the occasion, Sembcorp’s Mr. Koh said, “As a leading solar power player in Singapore, Sembcorp believes in being a responsible developer and operator. In scaling up our solar portfolio, we take a cradle-to-grave approach: not just caring about procurement, design and installation and operation, but even seeing our projects through to the end of their operational lives, and beyond. We believe this focus on responsible resource management is especially timely, given that 2019 has been declared Singapore’s Year Towards Zero Waste. At the same time, we also see a strong need to build up a pool of skilled talent in Singapore, to support future solar projects competently.

“Sembcorp’s collaboration with SP is in line with our commitment to sustainability and allows us to play a role in upskilling talent and other smaller players here. It also clearly demonstrates our investment and commitment to support the growth of Singapore’s solar power sector holistically, and to help the country meet its goal of a 350-megawatt peak of solar power capacity by 2020.”

In addition to recycling used solar panels, Sembcorp and SP are also working together on training and education to build up skilled manpower needed to support the growth of solar energy in Singapore. The two parties will jointly develop a course curriculum at the Polytechnic, internships, as well as continuing education programmes for managers, engineers and technicians working on solar projects.

Singapore Polytechnic’s Mr. Lim added, “The partnership with Sembcorp provides Singapore Polytechnic a platform to test its innovative solution that can potentially be a game changer for Singapore’s zero waste vision. The collaboration also allows us to play a part in keeping Singapore’s workforce relevant to the changing needs of the industry through our robust full-time and continuing education training courses.”

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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