Solarcycle, a tech-driven recycling company focused on producing sustainable materials at scale for the solar industry, has raised $30 million in Series A funding, bringing the company’s total funding to $37 million since its inception a year ago.
The company reports that the funds, consisting of both company equity and infrastructure financing, will be used to scale its growth in solar panel recycling capacity and expand materials remanufacturing capabilities. The infrastructure financing provides asset-level equity capital for Solarcycle’s Odessa, Texas factory.
The round is led by Fifth Wall and HG Ventures. The round also included participation from special situations partner Alok Sindher, Prologis Ventures, as well as existing investors Urban Innovation Fund and Closed Loop Partners.
“This Series A funding will allow us to further advance our patented technology, grow partnerships with industry leaders, and rapidly build recycling infrastructure in the United States and beyond to mine old solar panels for making new solar panels,” said Suvi Sharma, CEO and co-founder of Solarcycle.
The announcement follows the initial $6.6M seed round the company raised in May 2022 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.
Solarcycle was founded in 2022 by industry experts from leading corporations and institutions such as Solaria, NEXTracker, Sierra Club, and the University of New South Wales. The company said its recycling solution can recover more than 95% of vital materials that can be re-used. Its technology allows it to extract metals including silver, silicon, copper, and aluminum and to recycle or repurpose 95% of panels currently in use. Sunrun was its first partner, and it has since added Silicon Ranch, DEPCOM Power, SOLV Energy, NovaSource, Greentech Renewables, and Forum Energy Partners.
“Fifth Wall looked far and wide, and we believe Solarcycle is the only company within North America aiming to do true, end-to-end solar panel recycling. Their deep solar industry partnerships and ability to extract valuable materials at reasonable cost, with efficient logistics, is what differentiates the company’s position,” said Peter Gajdoš, partner and co-head of The Climate Tech Investment Team at Fifth Wall. “The rapid adoption of customers speaks to the quality of the solution and the growing market demand as solar panel portfolio ages.”
Solarcycle works with residential, commercial and industrial (C&I), and utility companies to recycle solar panels at scale, expecting to install capacity to recycle one million solar panels per year by the end of 2023. The company plans to open a vertically integrated, advanced recycling factory capable of processing millions of panels annually in 2024.
Solarcycle said recent research projects that recyclable materials from solar panels will be worth more than $2.7 billion by 2030, up from $170 million this year.
Update: On April 20, 2023 Solarcycle announced that the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the company a $1.5M research grant to study the process for recovering higher-quality metals and materials extracted from retired solar panels.
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