Queensland government funds solar panel recycling pilot

solar panel recycling

Thousands of solar panels on Queensland homes, businesses and solar farms will be recycled at end-of-life and reused for parts, thanks to a multi-million-dollar investment by the State Government.

Almost $5.5 million of funding was announced recently to advance a solar panel recycling pilot and guide better practice in the renewable energy sector by improving industry engagement with communities.

The funds, of which $2.5 million is dedicated to ensuring residential solar panels can avoid landfill and are re-purposed for parts, will enhance the opportunities for regional Queensland communities to directly benefit from renewable energy solutions.

The solar panel recovery pilot will also collect information to help inform the development of a national product stewardship scheme, helping to identify any gaps in Queensland’s recovery and processing capacities.

Almost $3 million has been dedicated to delivering Queensland Renewable Energy Industry Association Grants, allocated to the Smart Energy Council (SEC), the Queensland Renewable Energy Council (QREC) and the Clean Energy Council (CEC).

The grants will support the co-ordinated growth of the large-scale renewable energy industry and will be put towards backing solar panel recycling programs, landholder support projects, career fairs in regional areas, support for local councils, community engagement, and exploring the potential opportunities for on-farm benefits.

In particular, the grants will enhance the opportunities for regional Queensland communities to directly benefit from renewable energy solutions.

Minister for Energy Mick de Brenni said the announcement was not only about saving solar panels from landfill, but means creating opportunity for jobs and economic growth in Queensland.

“With up to five locations in metro and regional Queensland set to host the pilot, we expect to see a significant uplift in opportunity to create new jobs in recovery and processing activities,” de Brenni said.

“Through its $1 billion solar panel manufacturing plan, the Albanese Government has provided the start of the line for solar panels, while today’s announcement by the Miles Government means we provide an end-of-life plan.”

Environment Minister Leanne Linard said it was no surprise Queensland, the sunshine state, had the highest rooftop solar penetration in Australia.

“The increasing use of solar panels on our homes and businesses is also helping Queensland meet its ambitious climate change goals, which is great news for our iconic natural environment.

“The solar panel recovery pilot will identify the best path forward in recycling solar panels once they have reached their end of life or have become damaged.

“I’m heartened by the enthusiasm of the industry and local councils to get involved.  Now we’re going to test how to make this work in a practical sense. I’m particularly excited by the enthusiasm of regional Queensland to trial solar panel recycling, and we will focus our efforts there.”

Queensland is the only state in Australia to have a plan for the recycling and stewardship of residential, commercial, and large-scale solar panels, according to John Grimes, Smart Energy Council Chief Executive.

“The large-scale solar industry knows it must have a strong product stewardship scheme if it is to maintain a strong social licence to operate. The Smart Energy Council congratulates the Queensland Government on its ongoing national leadership in solar uptake and solar stewardship.”

For more information, visit: www.statements.qld.gov.au

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