Victoria seeks to develop new solar panel recycling methods

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The Victorian government has launched a $10 million Solar Waste Challenge to encourage the development of novel solar panel recycling methods. 

The challenge is part of the state government’s plans to boost Victoria’s commitment to creating new jobs and its nation-leading transition to renewable energy and cutting waste.

Minister for Solar Homes Lily D’Ambrosio announced the launch of the new Breakthrough Victoria challenge, which seeks to back innovative solutions in a bid to reduce solar panel waste. 

More than 187,000 tonnes of solar panels are expected to enter Victoria’s waste stream by 2035, according to the Victorian government, emphasising the need for solutions to address solar panel waste. 

Innovators are urged to apply for investment funding to support the development of new or improved technology to recycle or reuse solar panels that would otherwise become waste. 

The Solar Waste challenge is the first stage in the development of a commercially viable solar panel recycling system in Victoria. 

The challenge is part of the state government’s $2 billion investment in the Breakthrough Victoria Fund, which is intended to support innovative companies and business leaders looking to solve complex problems. 

“Our Solar Waste Challenge is an example of how we are working with industry and innovators in our nation-leading clean energy transition, while proactively addressing potential environmental impacts,” D’Ambrosio said in a statement

“We’ve helped 200,000 households and businesses to install solar – driving down power bills and emissions – and now we’re creating more jobs and new industries as we boost Victoria’s recycling to meet our clean energy transition.”

Beginning in 2008, the state Labor government’s $1.3 billion Solar Homes Program has equipped approximately 200,000 Victorian households with solar panel systems

The program has already cut Victoria’s carbon emissions by 1.6 million tonnes and supported over 4,500 clean energy jobs. 

Household solar is expected to generate 12.5 per cent of Victoria’s 40 per cent renewable energy target by 2025.