HELIOS began with ambitions to establish a self-reliant recycling network, initially concentrating on creating a specialized recycling factory. As the project unfolded, our focus shifted towards maximizing the use of still-functional solar panels. We found significant potential in 'social sun', utilizing these panels in social housing to provide affordable energy solutions. This redirection not only enhances the lifespan of solar panels but also aligns with our social responsibility goals, demonstrating our adaptive strategy in addressing the multifaceted challenges of solar panel lifecycle management.
Recycling and reusing solar panels mitigates environmental impacts by allowing for the recovery of valuable materials and preventing hazardous waste. This process supports sustainable practices in the energy sector, reducing the need for new resources and minimizing ecological footprints.
Incorporating reused solar panels into social housing initiatives can significantly lower energy costs for low-income households, promoting energy equity. This strategy not only advances environmental goals but also enhances social well-being, making renewable energy solutions accessible to broader communities and supporting sustainable development.
WHAT WE DID
In our quest for efficient solar panel recycling, HELIOS has focused on comparing various technologies, particularly pyrolysis versus traditional shredding. While shredding is a straightforward, cost-effective method, it often results in material downcycling and potential contamination, like iron inclusion from shredder blades.
Pyrolysis, on the other hand, offers a more complex but environmentally sound solution. It involves heating panels in a low-oxygen environment to decompose and gasify the EVA layer, allowing for cleaner separation of materials. This method promises higher quality recovery of glass and silicon, crucial for producing new panels. Our comparative analysis of these technologies is pivotal in defining a sustainable recycling pathway that aligns with our environmental objectives.
WHAT WE DO
HELIOS leveraged a TSE subsidy to delve into the solar panel market, focusing on identifying the most effective recycling and reuse technologies. This financial support propelled our investigation into sustainable practices for the lifecycle of solar panels. Our findings revealed that shredding emerged as the optimal technology for recycling, negating the need for establishing a new recycling initiative.
Consequently, our attention shifted towards exploring the reuse of solar panels, particularly within the social housing sector. This pivot aims to address the energy crisis by providing low-income communities with access to renewable energy, thus contributing to both environmental sustainability and social equity. Through this approach, HELIOS is committed to extending the utility of solar panels and fostering a more sustainable integration into society.