Accompanied by EIT InnoEnergy since 2019, French start-up ROSI is to set up factory in Grenoble in 2022 for the revalorization of end-of-life photovoltaic (PV) modules. ROSI was selected for this purpose by Soren, the organisation in charge of collecting and recycling PV modules in France, formerly called PV CYCLE.
The start-up is setting up its factory near La Mure, in Isère. Since 2017, ROSI focused on developing a process to recover silicon, silver and copper from photovoltaic modules, and it is among the very first companies in Europe to offer an industrial solution that can recover high-purity silicon and silver from end-of-life PV modules.
ROSI plans to create around 30 jobs by 2023 and to recycle 3,000 tonnes of solar panels per year, and recover around 3 tonnes of silver and 90 tonnes of pure silicon. Silicon is considered a critical material by the European Commission. « Its recovery will enable the photovoltaic and semiconductor industries, that buy our silicon, to establish industrial autonomy, » says Bruno Bernard, Financial Director at Rosi Solar.
To collect the panels in France, Rosi Solar has formed two alliances. With Envie 2E Aquitaine, who will carry out the pre-treatment of photovoltaic panels by removing the aluminium frame or glass pane, and with Soren, the eco-organisation in charge of collection. The latter collected 5,000 tonnes of panels in the French territory in 2020, and plans to increase this volume to 10,000 tonnes by 2023 and 40,000 tonnes per annum from 2030 onwards, as the life span of a photovoltaic panel is no more than thirty years.
Javier Sanz, Thematic Leader in Renewable Energies at EIT InnoEnergy, adds : « This is a world first in terms of both the volume process and the capacity to recover all the high-value materials from the modules. This high value added to the recycling of PV panels will create circular economy loops within Europe. It is fully in line with EIT InnoEnergy’s commitment to the European Solar Initiative, to rebuild a competitive and advanced photovoltaic industry in Europe, and the need for a successful energy transition. ».