A 'garden' made of discarded solar panels has powered over a quarter of Dubbo's waste site operations in an Australia-first pilot program.
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The solar garden is made up of multiple panels which were discarded by residents outside of Dubbo, as part of a project to reuse the panels to stop them going to landfill.
The Second Life Solar Project is funded by the EPA's Circular Solar Grant Program, and began in 2021 in conjunction with sustainability company Blue Tribe.
Council's organisational sustainability coordinator, Catriona Jennings, said the system had been functioning well and had provided 27 per cent of the site's electricity, "helping Council to save money and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with non-renewable electricity purchased from the grid".
In 2022, 62 per cent of Council's greenhouse gas emissions from its operations was from waste sent to landfill and Council is developing a waste strategy and implementation plan to outline how it will work with the community to reduce emissions from waste, including actions to reduce solar panels being sent to landfill.
Council has also begun a six-month trial with PV Industries, also under EPA Circular Solar Grant Program funding , to provide a solar panel recycling service for end-of-life solar panels. As part of the trial, residents and businesses will be able to drop-off end-of-life solar panels to Whylandra for recycling.
Ms Jennings told the Daily Liberal: "Council's Economic Development and Visitor Services Team has also been supporting interested stakeholders to explore opportunities to set up solar panel reuse, recycling and re-manufacturing businesses in the Dubbo region as part of encouraging a local circular economy for the renewables industry."
Dubbo is now the fourth-largest installer of small scale solar systems in NSW.
IN OTHER NEWS
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, solar panels are designed to operate for 25 to 30 years but as people upgrade to larger solar systems for their homes and businesses, they are disposing of solar panels that are less than 10 years old because they don't know what else to do with them.
National Recycling Week is from November 13 to 19 and the theme is: What goes around comes around.
For more information about what you can do in your own home to change your recycling habits, visit https://recyclingnearyou.com.au/nationalrecyclingweek/
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