Skip to main content

Silicon Module Recycling by High-Power Lasers

DuraMAT will target net silicon (Si) photovoltaic (PV) module recycling costs that are lower than the current costs to recycle a module and provide a better alternative than landfill disposal.

The PV module dismantling will be demonstrated using a high-power laser process. Also, the project will analyze the costs of each laser step and steps taken from laboratory demonstration to field applications. This will allow the easier transition of the developed technology to commercial applications.


solar modules, silicon solar cells, laser recycling, solar waste, photovoltaics, PV recycling, laser processing

Core Objective

Module Materials Solutions


University of Virginia and National Renewable Energy Laboratory


A 1064-nanometer wavelength pulsed laser with a galvo system is used to scan the laser beam in the x-y direction for the successful removal of the solar module’s backsheet and glass recovery. Applications include the recycling of aged or damaged modules.


The final report on this project will be publicly available. Some of the results will be presented at the photovoltaics conference, and a manuscript will be submitted to a scientific journal.


[1]. S. Weckend et al.,“End of Life Management Solar PV Panels,”2016. Int. Renew. Ener. Agency.

[2]. R. Deng et al., "A techno-economic review of silicon photovoltaic module recycling," Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 109, pp. 532–550, Jul. 2019.

[3]. IRENA and IEA-PVPS (2016), "End-of-life management: solar photovoltaic panels," Int. Renewable Energy Agency and Int. Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power Systems.


To learn more about this project, contact Mool C. Gupta.

Image of fingers holding a glass plate next to a diagram showing a Laser shooting a collimated laser beam at Galvo, which directs it into a sample.

Preliminary results showing separation of glass plate (left) and Si solar cell from a small format Si module. A laser processing method is also shown.