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The New South Wales Government is investing $10 million in repurposing end-of-life solar panel systems that would otherwise go to landfill, with the first round of grants now open.

New State Wales residents and businesses are increasingly turning to solar power systems to reduce energy costs and drive improved environmental performance.

Although current waste volumes are relatively low, this emerging waste stream is expected to rapidly increase over the next decade as installed systems reach their end-of-life.  

In New South Wales it is forecast that this waste stream could generate up to 10,000 tonnes per year by 2025 and up to 71,000 tonnes per year by 2035.

EPA Director Circular Economy, Kathy Giunta, said the investment in recycling through this Circular Solar grants program would help New South Wales meet its commitment of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

“While current amounts of waste are low, now is the time to invest in developing systems for collecting and recycling these valuable resources like scarce and rare metals, including lithium batteries,” Ms Guinta said.

“We want to recycle and reuse the materials in solar panels and battery systems as New South Wales transitions towards cleaner energy and this program is an important step in building a productive circular economy in New South Wales.

“It will see New South Wales well placed to manage waste solar systems over the coming years and will stimulate much needed job creation in the solar power and recycling sectors.”

The New South Wales Government is now inviting Expressions of Interest (EOI) for grants to run trial projects that increase the collection, reuse and recycling of solar panel and battery storage systems. 

Applications for projects that trial whole of supply chain approaches to collecting and reusing and/or recycling can be made until 17 September 2020. 

$2 million is available in this funding round, with the remaining funding to be made available following evaluation of this EOI process.

For more information, click here.

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