Solarcycle raises $6.6 million in funding to take solar recycling to the next level

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Solarcycle plans to advance its solar recycling platform after raising $6.6 million in growth funding from leading renewable energy and circular economy investors including SolarCity founders Peter and Lyndon Rive, former CEO/CTO of Sunpower Corporation Systems Tom Dinwoodie, Urban Innovation Fund, and Closed Loop Partners.

“It is exciting to have the financial backing of investors who helped launch and scale the solar industry, as well as venture funds specializing in creating the needed infrastructure for the circular economy,” said Solarcycle CEO Suvi Sharma. “This funding will allow us to scale our advanced recycling operations in North America, enabling us to start handling the millions of solar systems that will be retiring in the coming years.”

Solarcycle, based in Northern California, was founded this year by industry experts from leading corporations and institutions such as Solaria, NEXTracker, Sierra Club, and the University of New South Wales. Solarcycle launched its recycling platform last month and announced that Sunrun was its first partner.

The recycling solution can recover more than 95% of vital materials that can be re-used, according to Solarcycle. Its technology allows it to extract metals including silver, silicon, copper, and aluminum and to recycle or repurpose 95% of panels currently in use.

“I firmly believe the transition to a renewable economy must be coupled with full attention to developing a circular economy for addressing the mineral scarcity and looming waste problem coming our way,” said Tom Dinwoodie, co-founder of Sunpower.

The market for solar recycling is strong and growing, as solar installations increase at a rapid pace. One group that is studying reuse of solar panels is at the National Renewable Energy Lab, which has published research that describes how to motivate the market first to reuse solar panels, and then recycle them by guiding national industrial policy to create a financially viable end-of-life solar panel industry. The researchers’ projections showed that 40% of all solar panels could be reused and recycled using subsidies equal to $18 per panel for 12 years. At that price, a profitable and sustainable solar panel recycling industry could establish itself by 2032.

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