The first French unit for the processing and recycling photovoltaic panels will be located in Rousset in the Bouches-du-Rhône (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region). Using technology that is unique in France, it will recover 1,400 tonnes of material per year from 2017 and up to 4,000 tonnes by 2021. The secondary raw materials will then be re-injected into various sectors (aluminium, glass, copper) in line with circular economy principles. Veolia and PV CYCLE France thereby comply with the European WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive which requires solar panel importers and manufacturers to collect and recycle end-of-life equipment.
"This first unit dedicated to recycling used photovoltaic panels is part of the high value-added strategy in our sector, recovering nearly 96% of materials while reducing the environmental impact of the collection process,” said Nicolas Defrenne, CEO of PV CYCLE France.
"This contract, new in France, illustrates Veolia's ability to convince key recycling players by providing innovative solutions. It marks the beginning of a long collaboration with PV CYCLE, the only eco-organism in this sector," added Bernard Harambillet, CEO Waste Solutions for Veolia in France.
In 2016, 55,000 tonnes of photovoltaic panels were installed in France totalling 6.8 GW. Driven by France’s Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, this will reach 20.2 GW by 2023.