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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    University of New South Wales


    Kensington, New South Wales

    ARENA Program

    Addressing Solar PV End-of-Life Issues and Lowering Solar PV Cost

  • Start date

    18 September 2020

    End date

    12 March 2024

  • Project Partners
    Azure Mining Technology, GrapheneX, Visy Recycling Australia, Providences Assets, JinkoSolar, Trina Solar, Central South University, DuPont, Research and Development Center China, Silicon Corporation (ENFI Group)


This project will develop a highly efficient and low-cost recycling system to recover valuable metals and silicon from end-of-life photovoltaic panels.


The rapid growth in photovoltaic solar panel installations has made end-of-life panel recycling an important topic – both as an environmental challenge and business opportunity. Current recycling technologies are impractical, attributed to low energy efficiency, high-cost and harmful chemicals. It is therefore necessary to develop a highly efficient and low-cost recycling system to recycle end-of-life PV panels.


Inspired by metallurgy engineering, the project will develop a highly efficient low-cost closed-loop recycling system to recover valuable metals and silicon from end-of-life solar panels. The project will leverage interdisciplinary research expertise in metallurgy (pyro- and hydro-metallurgy), photovoltaics, waste treatment, and close collaboration with industry partners across the whole supply chain in Australia and overseas. It will be technically achieved by combining state-of-the-art research methods including extensive computer simulations for system design and scale-up, lab- and pilot-scale experiments for system demonstration, and life cycle, economic and policy analyses for overall system evaluation.


The expected outcomes include a prototype of a photovoltaic panel recycling system and scalable computer models. Lifecycle and economic analyses, will provide a cost-effective, closed-loop and practical solution to recycling photovoltaic panels. It will open up and/or transform the photovoltaic recycling industry, ultimately allowing for a more competitive and sustainable photovoltaic industry in Australia and globally.

Additional impacts

The project will directly employ nine researchers and involve two PhD students.

Last updated 18 May 2023


Solar research funding awarded to 16 new projects

New funding will help solar researchers to develop panels that are more cost-effective and efficient.

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