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Solarcycle snaps $30M funding to scale advanced recycling for solar industry

Photo Credit: Solarcycle

Solar adoption is predicted to accelerate over the next decade, with installations increasing from 150 GWp in 2021 to 650 GWp per year in 2030.

Meanwhile, Solarcycle, a California-based firm, has created proprietary technology to convert outdated panels into resources for new ones. The tech-driven recycling startup has raised $30M in funding led by Fifth Wall and HG Ventures, with participation from Prologis Ventures and previous investors Urban Innovation Fund and Closed Loop Partners.

This brings the company’s total funding to $37M since its inception a year ago. The funds, which include both business equity and infrastructure funding, will be utilised to boost the company’s solar panel recycling capacity and materials remanufacturing capabilities.

Solarcycle’s funding announcement comes after a year in which the company opened its first advanced-technology solar recycling facility in Odessa, Texas, and signed customer partnerships with major US solar companies such as Sunrun, Silicon Ranch, DEPCOM Power, SOLV Energy, NovaSource, Greentech Renewables, and Forum Energy Partners.

“I spent nearly twenty years in the solar industry, helping grow two large solar companies from scratch. When I co-founded SOLARCYCLE in 2022, I knew the moment was right to build an industry-backed advanced technology solution to recycling solar panels that ensures that valuable materials go back into the domestic supply chain,” said Suvi Sharma, CEO and Co-Founder of SOLARCYCLE. “This Series A funding will allow us to further advance our patented technology, grow partnerships with industry leaders, and rapidly build recycling infrastructure in the United States and beyond to mine old solar panels for making new solar panels.”

“Fifth Wall looked far and wide, and we believe SOLARCYCLE is the only company within North America aiming to do true, end-to-end solar panel recycling. Their deep solar industry partnerships and ability to extract valuable materials at reasonable cost, with efficient logistics, is what differentiates the company’s position,” said Peter Gajdoš, Partner and Co-Head of The Climate Tech Investment Team at Fifth Wall. “The rapid adoption of customers speaks to the quality of the solution and the growing market demand as solar panel portfolio ages. We are confident in management’s ability to help lead the solar industry into the next chapter and make solar energy even more sustainable.”

“SOLARCYCLE provides customers with the first scalable model for solar panel recycling, which aligns perfectly with HG Ventures’ mission to partner with innovative, high-growth companies that support a sustainable future. We are delighted to support SOLARCYCLE’s world class team developing a business model that is both an economic opportunity and an environmental necessity,” said Kip Frey, Managing Director of HG Ventures.

“As the #2 generator of onsite solar in the U.S., we see a strong and urgent need for an advanced circular solar supply chain solution, which SOLARCYCLE delivers,” said Will O’Donnell, Managing Director of Prologis Ventures. “We like that they are making solar energy even more sustainable, given their ability to extract 95% of the material from a panel and return them to the supply chain to make new solar panels.”

Founded by Suvi Sharma, Jesse Simons and Dr. Pablo Ribeiro Dias in 2022, Solarcycle is a technology-driven platform that offers solar asset owners a low-cost, eco-friendly, all-inclusive procedure for recycling retiring solar panels and technologies and reusing them for new applications. Its innovative process allows it to recover 95% of the valuable metals found in solar panels, such as silver, silicon, copper, and aluminium, as well as recycle or repurpose panels that are currently in use. 

To recycle solar panels at scale, the company collaborates with residential, commercial and industrial (C&I), and utility companies. It wants to establish a vertically integrated, advanced recycling factory capable of processing millions of panels annually in 2024, and it is on pace to develop capacity to recycle one million solar panels per year by the end of 2023.

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