Implementing the Circular Economy

A Pre-Requisite for any Renewable Energy Technology

PVthin and its members are at the forefront of establishing circular business models through life cycle management approaches, from raw material sourcing to high value recycling at end-of-life.

Thin-film PV technologies offer tremendous opportunities to enable circular business models through design for recycling, highly resource efficient manufacturing technologies and dedicated recycling technologies.

Current Practices

Our Practices

Recycling with First Solar

First Solar recycling recovers up to 90% of materials First Solar’s state-of-the-art recycling facilities are operational in the U.S., Germany and Malaysia, with a scalable capacity to accommodate high volume recycling as more modules reach the end of their 25+ year life. Our proven recycling process achieves high recovery rates; up to 90 percent of the semiconductor material can be reused in new modules and 90 percent of the glass can be reused in new glass products.

Recycling with 5N PLUS

As part of its strategy for consolidating its chain of supply, 5N Plus has acquired facilities for extracting metals of interest from various concentrates produced by the primary metals industry. The range of technology developed for this purpose has quickly allowed 5N Plus to use as raw materials numerous production residues produced by our clients and containing concentrations of our products. As a result, 5N Plus has developed unique expertise that enables us to offer recycling solutions to customers and to transform an environmental liability into a significant source of supply.

Other Projects


The Circular Business Models for the Solar Power Industry (CIRCUSOL) aims to develop business solutions in the solar power industry in line with the circular economy.

The project is funded by HORIZON 2020, a research and innovation framework of the European Union and will run until June 2022. The demand for solar power is increasing, as is the demand for raw materials and options for recycling and disposal. The project intends to increase the circularity of solar power business models and to contribute to the circular economy.


CABRISS is a project funded by Horizon Europe and seeks to develop a circular economy as well, but is targeted at PV, the electronic and glass industry.

This project is a combined initiative of 16 European companies and research institutes. Initially the project related to the PV industry, the Powder Metallurgy and the recycling industry. These industries came together with the aim of utilising recycled waste sources. The project mainly focusses on the PV production value chain.

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