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Queensland Government announces solar panel recycling initiative

The Queensland State Government has announced an investment aimed at changing the recycling of solar panels across homes, businesses, and solar farms throughout the state.

With an allocation of almost $5.5 million, the State government believe this initiative marks a significant step forward in promoting sustainability within the renewable energy sector.

Minister for energy Mick de Brenni said, “Queensland is well positioned to lead the clean energy revolution and take advantage of our state’s natural resources with the help of these industry bodies.

The primary focus of this investment, totalling $2.5 million, is to ensure that end-of-life solar panels are diverted from landfills and repurposed for valuable parts.

By doing so, Queensland aims to mitigate environmental impact while also creating economic opportunities for local communities.

Brenni said, “Not only is today’s announcement about saving solar-panels from landfill, but importantly, it means creating opportunity for jobs and economic growth in Queensland.

This initiative will serve as a pilot program, collecting crucial data to inform the development of a national product stewardship scheme.

Environment minister Leanne Linard said, “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.

The pilot plane is set to identifying gaps in current recovery and processing capacities, the Queensland State Government aims to set a precedent for efficient and environmentally responsible practices in the renewable energy industry.

“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,” said Brenni.

A significant portion of the funding, approximately $3 million, will be allocated to support the Queensland Renewable Energy Industry Association Grants.

These grants will be allocated to organisations such as the Smart Energy Council (SEC), Queensland Renewable Energy Council (QREC), and Clean Energy Council (CEC) to spearhead various initiatives aimed at fostering the growth of the renewable energy sector.

Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes said, “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.

Queensland Renewable Energy Council chief executive officer Katie-Anne Mulder said,
“Queensland’s renewable energy industry is pleased to work alongside government and other local stakeholders to maximise the regional economic benefits from our state’s energy transition.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said, “The Queensland Government has a vision for the future of renewable energy and is providing tangible support to ensure its success.

As a direct result, Queensland is reaping the benefits of regional jobs and the economic prosperity that renewable and storage projects inevitably bring to communities.”

From supporting solar panel recycling programs to facilitating community engagement and exploring on-farm benefits, the Queensland State Government expect the grants to have a far-reaching impact.

More information regarding the grants can be found here

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