AGC announced that it recycled around 24 tons of used solar panel cover glass into raw material cullet, which can be reused for flat glass production through a special heat treatment.
Officials say the successful test demonstration shows the process can reduce industrial waste and conserve raw materials derived from natural resources such as silica sand and soda ash, thereby promoting a circular economy.
The test demonstration occurred at AGC’s Yokohama Technical Center’s glass production furnace. To recover the glass from the solar panels, AGC used heat treatment technology of the commercial solar panel recycling production line of Mitsubishi Chemical Group company Shinryo Corp.
According to officials, the service life of solar panels is estimated to be 20-30 years, and panels weighing hundreds of thousands of tons are expected to be disposed of annually starting in the late 2030s. Cover glass accounts for about 60% of this total weight, and there is concern that a serious environmental impact will occur if disposed of as industrial waste in large quantities in landfills.