Remanufacturing end‐of‐life silicon photovoltaics: Feasibility and viability analysis

Deng, R, Chang, N, Lunardi, MM, et al. (2020). “Remanufacturing end‐of‐life silicon photovoltaics: Feasibility and viability analysis.” Progress in Photovoltaics: Research Applications 1– 15. https://doi.org/10.1002/pip.3376.

Abstract: With the rapid deployment of silicon solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies around the world, the volume of end‐of‐life (EoL) PV modules will increase exponentially in the next decade. Different EoL management strategies are being explored in the industrial and academic fields, such as recycling, remanufacturing and reusing. In this study, we used a Monte Carlo uncertainty model to identify the potential economic benefits of closed‐loop recycling of EoL PV modules when recycled silicon is integrated into different stages of the PV supply chain. Circular use of high‐purity silicon and intact silicon wafers from EoL PV modules can be economically feasible in reducing 20% of the manufacturing cost of the second‐life modules, even with some efficiency reductions. Even though the price of new PV modules is decreasing rapidly (making PV modules less attractive from a recycling perspective), circular use of material from EoL modules in second‐life production was found to have promising long‐term environmental and economic benefits. The cost–efficiency trade‐off is shown to provide cost targets for new PV recycling technologies.

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