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Germany leads the way in PV Recycling

Published at: Oct 20, 2011
source: PV Magazine
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The PV-Cycle Association, a group of 230 European PV manufacturers, has announced that it has collected over 1,000 tons of modules since its inception in June 2010.  Germany has contributed 45% of the total, with over 458 tons of products recycled.

Since its establishment last June, PV Cycle has recycled 1,020 tons of end-of-life photovoltaic modules. Germany has been identified as the leading program participant.

The company says that in addition to the modules recycled under its Collective Scheme, a further 1,900 tons have been collected and processed under its Individual System. PV Cycle adds that is now "well-prepared" for larger module volumes.

According to the data, at 45 percent, the majority of end-of-life modules come from Germany, which has contributed a total of 458 tons to the program. Spain ranks in second place with 207 tons, followed by Italy (150 tons), Poland (92 tons), Belgium (71 tons), France (43 tons) and the U.K. (two tons).

A spokesperson for the company told pv magazine that between 95 and 98 percent of the photovoltaic modules in the program have been submitted due to damage that occurred during transport or installation, or which came back after one year of operation having suffered a technical failure.

In a statement released, PV Cycle added, "For silicon-based PV Modules, the current recycling partners with an environmentally sound treatment and the highest yields are based in Germany, Belgium and Spain; for non-silicon based PV modules the partners are based in Germany and Belgium."

The spokesperson went on to say that with a technical lifetime of 30 years, the first significant waste flow of photovoltaic modules is only expected from 2020 onwards.

PV Cycle was set up in June 2010 with the aim of recycling photovoltaic modules in the European Union and EFTA (Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland). It has attracted almost 230 members thus far, which is said to represent over 90 percent of the European market for photovoltaic modules.

After they have been collected, the modules are taken by PV Cycle to partner recycling plants to be processed. Its take-back and recycling scheme is composed of more than 170 fixed collection points, which have been established in a number of countries, including Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, the U.K., Greece, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Portugal, Switzerland and Slovenia. The service is free of charge.

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