The May 2017 Solar Washington General Meeting took place May 3 at the Community Hall at the Phinney Neighborhood Center in Seattle. Speakers included the following:
Mikhaila Gonzales, Project Manager for Northwest SEED, who discussed SEED's Affordable Clean Energy for All project, and Sameer Ranade, Climate and Clean Energy Program Associate for the Washington Environmental Council, spoke about the Clean Energy Fund, the Clean Energy Transition Act, and how it can strengthen the solar industry. Click to view Mikhaila's presentation. Click to view Mikhaila and Sameer's combined presentation slides.
Rick Matheson, CEO/President of Nampa, ID based Advanced Technology Solutions and Silicon 2 Solar specializing in processing/recovering silicon wafers, broken silicon, solar silicon and a distributor of high-end NAND/DRAM Products. Rick addressed silicon repurposing, recycling methods and its challenges. Click to view his presentation file.
Summary from Rick's presentation:
Rick's company develops new recycling efforts for solar panels and computer chips. Noting that silicon materials were going into landfills in the early 2000's as well as seeing troubling methods of silicon recycling (some of which included chemical baths), Rick wanted to have a compliant and transparent process of extraction. His company uses non-acid based solutions for treatments and extractions while producing value (by selling the materials back to the solar industry). He sees large potential in solar panel recovery. Elements extracted from panels include glass (74%), aluminum (about 10%), polymers (7%), silicon (3%), lead (.01%), silver (.006%) and trace levels of tin, zinc and copper. As one can see there's not much precious metal to be extracted from panels, but with enough volume, he can make reselling these materials on the market pencil out. His company acquires panels from decommissioned solar farms, some that are damaged (with broken glass, for example), excess panels from various projects and so on.
As for requiring that panel manufacturers in WA or companies selling in WA have a defined recovery process, he would rather not penalize the solar industry, per se, at this time (especially since many other industries don't require such a protocol yet). Rather, he would like to see general guidelines and a responsible approach making sure that their materials are going to a responsible recycling venue. But having a rigid mandated protocol may not be the best approach at this time.
Rich Phillips, CEO of PureSolar, who did a presentation on PureSolar's new PV panel.
Thanks to all who attended!
Solar Washington presents its General Meetings as an informative forum for industry personnel, homeowners and solar enthusiasts. Our meetings present an excellent opportunity to network with industry representatives as well as learn about current products, services and issues surrounding the solar industry in Washington State. Open to all solar enthusiasts.