Kyocera aims for 85% recycling rate of solar module materials

New Environmental Agreement passed by PV CYCLE

03 November 2011

Kyoto / Neuss − The Japanese technology company Kyocera, one of the leading manufacturers in the field of photovoltaics (PV), has signed on as a full member to the PV CYCLE’s new Environmental Agreement. The third Environmental Agreement strengthens the Europe-wide system for the take-back and recycling of PV modules with more stringent self-regulations. The goal of the agreement is to achieve a recycling rate of 85% of materials contained in modules by 2020.

With the signing of the new Environmental Agreement, Kyocera gives a clear sign of its ongoing commitment to sustainability. "The responsible use of natural resources is a concept firmly rooted in the corporate philosophy of Kyocera," stated Kyocera’s European President Shigeru Koyama. "By means of our solar modules, we are making a significant contribution to the promotion and use of renewable energies. For us, it goes without saying that we take responsibility, even beyond the product’s life cycle, in matters regarding the sustainable recycling and disposal of materials."

PV CYCLE’s objective is to create a voluntary industry-wide take-back and recycling programme for end-of-life PV modules. Currently, the non-profit association represents more than 90% of the European PV market. The financing of the sustainable system is to be borne by the PV manufacturers. By 2020, the association plans to further increase the number of module return stations, which at present number more than 170, into a dense network of collection points throughout Europe. The new PV CYCLE Environmental Agreement has now been submitted to the EU Commission with a request for assistance.

Recycling makes PV modules twice as sustainable

By recycling modules at the end of their product life, the solar power industry ensures the sustainability of photovoltaics up through the entire value chain and beyond the actual product life of the modules. In addition to the prevention of waste, by recovering material resources, the amount of energy required to provide raw materials is also reduced — thus sustainably reducing costs and environmental impact. The recycling of silicon solar cells that can be processed into new wafers is particularly important. Also, the aluminium and glass components, as well as the semiconductor materials, can be efficiently recycled to conserve energy.

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