Sembcorp, Singapore Polytechnic team up to develop pilot solar panel recycling plant

DARYL CHOO Today Online 23 Jan 19;

SINGAPORE — Sembcorp Industries and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) have teamed up to commercialise the first-ever technology for recycling used solar panels and develop a pilot recycling plant.

The two parties signed a memorandum of collaboration on Wednesday (Jan 23) at SP which was witnessed by officials from the Singapore Economic Development Board, Energy Market Authority and National Environment Agency.

Photovoltaic recycling, a technology developed by a team of three SP researchers, recovers resources from used solar panels such as glass, silicon and metals. The partners will work together to bring this technology from the “laboratory to market” and speed up plans for its plant, said Sembcorp and SP in a joint press release.

Once commercially viable, the plant can serve as a prototype for larger-scale recycling of used solar panels in Singapore and other countries.

Recycling used solar panels would help address the global challenge of such waste, which the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates will reach 60 million tonnes cumulatively worldwide by 2050, said Sembcorp Industries and SP.

SP’s Deputy Principal (Academic) Lim Peng Hun said: “The partnership with Sembcorp provides Singapore Polytechnic a platform to test its innovative solution that can potentially be a game-changer for Singapore’s zero waste vision.”

Mr Koh Chiap Khiong, head of Sembcorp’s energy business in Singapore, South-east Asia and China, added: As a leading solar power player in Singapore, Sembcorp believes in being a responsible developer and operator.

“In scaling up our solar portfolio, we take a cradle-to-grave approach: Not just caring about procurement, design and installation and operation, but even seeing our projects through to the end of their operational lives, and beyond.”


Sembcorp Industries and SP will also work together on training and education to develop skilled manpower needed to support the growth of solar energy in Singapore.

They will jointly develop the polytechnic’s course curriculum, internships, as well as continuing education programmes for managers, engineers and technicians working on solar projects.

This partnership leverages on Sembcorp’s knowledge of real-world industry demands to complement SP’s existing course material on solar energy systems and deployment.

In the future, Sembcorp also plans to make this training a requirement for all contractors working on its solar power projects here.

Mr Koh said that this demonstrates the company’s “investment and commitment to support the growth of Singapore’s solar power sector holistically” and to help the country meet its goal of 350 megawatt peak of solar power capacity by 2020.

Sembcorp has around 2,600 megawatts of wind and solar power projects across Singapore, China and India.

The company also has rooftop solar projects across more than 1,500 local sites at public housing blocks, schools, government sites, as well as private commercial and industrial facilities.