SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, has participated in the successful development of lightweight, circular photovoltaic (PV) panels in conjunction with Solarge, an innovative manufacturer of circular lightweight solar panels. This collaboration was showcased during the opening event of Solarge’s new production facility in Weert, The Netherlands. Representatives from SABIC and Solarge, along with other industry leaders, attended the ceremony which was also attended by Rob Jetten, Dutch Minister for Climate & Energy, and Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy.
Lada Kurelec, General Manager, PP & E4PS, at SABIC, spoke at the event and highlighted, “As a part of our sustainability strategy to support the energy transition, SABIC prioritizes collaboration and innovation together with industry leaders in their fields. We are proud to be a trusted partner for sustainable and inclusive growth and are pleased to work with Solarge on this important project in the development of circular solar panels. We look forward to building on this partnership and continuing our efforts in driving sustainability through collaboration and innovation on the road to carbon neutrality.”
Jan Vesseur, CEO of Solarge, said, “This new production line enables us to realize the most sustainable solar panels in a solid volume and contribute to accelerating of the energy transition in the most sustainable way possible. The collaboration with SABIC in the development of this product has been crucial for us and exemplary in its execution.”
SABIC worked closely with Solarge to develop a low-carbon footprint solar panel made from SABIC® PP (polypropylene) compounds. Today, many building roofs cannot sustain the weight of the current glass PV panels, but SABIC PP Compounds used in these solar panels provide more than 50% weight reduction. In addition, PV panels made with this material result in more than 25% carbon footprint reduction and can be reused within their own production chain after 25 years. These features attract a high demand for application on industrial roofs as customers in the commercial and industrial building segment seek lighter and more energy-efficient alternatives.
The initial concept for the lightweight, circular PV panels was developed and patented by SABIC and Solarge. In this unique collaboration with Solarge, SABIC developed differentiated polypropylene materials to enable the Solarge lightweight solar panel to meet performance requirements. SABIC then worked together with Solarge in the further application development and testing of the concept, and installation, and supported the industrial scale-up of the product for market entry.
The SABIC® PP compounds used in these panels will be produced at SABIC’s polypropylene compounding site in Genk, Belgium. As the next exciting step, in this ongoing journey, SABIC has already installed 50 of these lightweight PV panels on the roof of this manufacturing facility in a pilot project, marking the start of a full-scale roof installation of nearly 5,000 panels during 2023. This also reaffirms SABIC’s commitment to driving the energy transition toward renewable power through both material applications and reducing the manufacturing carbon footprint.