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A Memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed by AGL and Elecsome to undertake a feasibility study for the development of a solar panel recycling plant and solar cable manufacturing facility.  

The feasibility study will determine the engineering and infrastructure requirements as well as the key environmental and regulatory approvals required for the development, construction, and operation of both facilities.  

The facilities would be located at AGL’s Hunter Energy Hub Bayswater e-Recycling Precinct.  

If developed, the recycling plant would be Elecsome’s first commercial-scale solar panel recycling facility in New South Wales and is expected to upcycle up to 500,000 residential and grid-scale solar panels per year. 

The company has also developed a patented technology to use the glass which makes up over 70 per cent of a solar panel to create SolarCrete – a pre-mixed concrete that can be used in construction activities such as for driveways and footpaths. This product will form part of the feasibility study at the Hunter site. 

The solar cable manufacturing plant is expected to produce up to 20,000km of solar cable per year and is expected to be used in residential and commercial solar installations, as well as utility scale solar farms. 

If successful the new plants are expected to generate approximately 20 jobs during the two-year construction phase, and approximately 50 jobs when fully operational. 

AGL’s General Manager Energy Hubs, Travis Hughes, said that AGL’s vision for the Hunter Energy Hub is starting to take shape with partners from across the renewables value chain signing deals with AGL over the past 12 months. 

“Since the closure of Liddell Power Station one year ago, we have signed MoUs that could bring battery recycling with Renewable Metals and solar panel manufacturing with SunDrive to the Hunter Energy Hub,” Mr Hughes said.  

“Today we add solar panel recycling and solar cable manufacturing to that list of partners. 

“If successful, the establishment of a solar panel recycling plant and solar cable manufacturing plant with Elecsome will mean we are hosting several parts of the solar energy value chain with both manufacturing and recycling of grid-scale and residential solar panels at the Hunter Energy Hub. 

“These partnerships have the potential to make a significant contribution to the economy of the Upper Hunter by creating new jobs in the renewable energy sector.” 

Elecsome CEO, Neeraj Das, said that Elecsome is thrilled to join the Hunter Energy Hub and contribute to the journey toward net zero, while also advancing resource recovery and onshore manufacturing. 

Elecsome has successfully commissioned its first solar PV upcycling facility in Melbourne, where it transforms solar panels into new products used in the construction and manufacturing industries. 

If the feasibility study is successful, a second stage of the recycling facility is planned to focus on the extraction of high value materials for the Hunter Energy Hub. The extraction of the materials used in a solar panel includes using silicon wafer for re-use in PV and battery grade silicon, electric conductors for re-use in electrical appliances, silver and copper extracted for other industries, and the aluminium frames repurposed for cans and new solar PV frames. 

AGL said that its vision for the Hunter Energy Hub is to create a low carbon integrated energy hub – designed with circular economy principles – that brings together industries that can make a positive contribution to the energy transition, including renewable energy generation, grid-scale batteries, green advanced manufacturing, and associated industries. 

Image: IM Imagery/shutterstock.com 

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