Grid Scale, Solar

First Solar Teams Up for Cadmium Recycling

October 17, 2003 [] The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Ken Zweibel and Harin Ullal have been working with First Solar, the world’s largest producer of cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) modules, on a cadmium manufacturing waste recycling program. PV modules contain tiny amounts of cadmium, a material typically disposed of at a hazardous waste site. With the new recycling program adopted by First Solar, the cadmium is now removed from “off-spec” modules and sent to a nickel cadmium (NiCd) battery-recycling site, where it is processed and reused in NiCd batteries. This procedure is cheaper than simply disposing of the hazardous waste, because it involves no fees, such as the cost for hauling the cadmium to the waste site and disposal fees. In the future, any customer returns or end-of-life modules also will be recycled. For more Info on the use of CdTe in the PV industry see the first of two links below.