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Powering new jobs in new industries for Gippsland

06/12/2022

The Victorian Government is backing one of Australia’s first solar panel upcycling plants to be built in Gippsland, creating more jobs in the waste and resource recovery sector and supporting the region’s circular economy.

The $3.65 million project by Elecsome in Kilmany is being supported through the Victorian Government’s Regional Jobs Fund to create 30 new jobs for locals and a further 100 jobs during construction.

Elecsome’s new plant will provide a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable solar panel upcycling service. The first of its kind in Australia, solar panels will be transformed into higher value raw materials for other industries.

Using cutting-edge technology capable of upcycling and repurposing 97 per cent of each rooftop solar panel, Elecsome’s new facility in Kilmany will be capable of processing 180 kilotons of waste annually.

The upcycling process will recover and transform solar panel glass into concrete and high purity artificial sand for the construction industry along with producing other materials such as silicon, copper and silver.

Elecsome has developed the advanced upcycling technology with partners RMIT and the University of Melbourne with the assistance of a Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Grant from the Australian Government.

The construction of the upcycling plant is currently underway and will include the installation and commissioning of equipment as well as the development of a storage building and research and development lab.

The site will be sustainably built with carbon neutral architecture, a purpose-built solar farm and dedicated grid infrastructure which will connect to the local network to return electricity to the grid. The plant will also be capable of processing other glass waste such as TVs, computers and LCD screens.

Solar panel waste is the fastest growing e-waste stream in Australia. Limited recycling opportunities and the exponential growth of disused solar panels presents growth opportunities for Elecsome and more jobs for the region.

The project supports Gippsland’s growth and ambitious uptake of renewable energy generation, driving innovation in new technologies and increasing investor confidence in the region as it transitions to new industries.

The Regional Jobs Fund is part of the Victorian Government’s flagship Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund. The Fund is central to the Government’s record investment of more than $36 billion across regional and rural Victoria since 2015.

Information and guidelines at Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund.



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