The article talks about a few techniques that will be used to recycle solar panels. Silver is one of the more valuable pieces of the process, but the high purity glass might be a revenue driver as well. The disassembly of the aluminum frames might be an issue due to high labor costs – sounds like a job for a robot to me. There is going to be a very significant need for this service, and that need is going to drive value. This work is happening in Europe and China as well.
NPC has developed a process called the hot knife method, which can separate the cells of a panel from the glass in about 40 seconds. The panel is placed between two rollers, which move it along and hold it steady until it runs into a “hot knife” — a 1 meter-long, 1 centimeter-thick steel blade that is heated to 180-200 C and slices the cell and the glass apart.