$10 million grants for NSW solar panel and battery storage

The NSW Government is investing $10 million to help improve environmental performance by diverting end-of-life solar panel systems from landfill, with the first round of grants now open.

Although current waste volumes are relatively low, this emerging waste stream is expected to rapidly increase over the next decade as installed systems reach their end-of-life.

Waste stream expected to grow

In NSW it is forecast that this waste stream could generate up to 10,000 tonnes per year by 2025 and up to 71,000 tonnes per year by 2035.

EPA Director Circular Economy Kathy Giunta said the investment in recycling through this Circular Solar grants program would help NSW meet its commitment of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

“While current amounts of waste are low, now is the time to invest in developing systems for collecting and recycling these valuable resources like scarce and rare metals, including lithium batteries.

“We want to recycle and re-use the materials in solar panels and battery systems as NSW transitions towards cleaner energy and this program is an important step in building a productive circular economy in NSW.

“It will see NSW well placed to manage waste solar systems over the coming years and will stimulate much needed job creation in the solar power and recycling sectors,” Giunta said.

The NSW Government is inviting Expressions of Interest for grants to run trial projects that increase the collection, reuse and recycling of solar panel and battery storage systems. Applications for projects that trial whole of supply chain approaches to collecting and reusing and/or recycling can be made until 17 September 2020.

$2 million is available in this funding round, with the remaining funding to be made available following evaluation of this EOI process.

For more information visit https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/working-together/grants/infrastructure-fund/circular-solar-trials-expression-of-interest or email infrastructure.grants@epa.nsw.gov.au.

How Sustainability Victoria is tackling priority recycled waste

Victorian infrastructure projects which use recycled materials and create local jobs are being boosted by $2.6 million Sustainable Infrastructure Fund grants. Local Victorian governments are expected to spend more than $8 billion on infrastructure projects over the next three years, presenting a significant opportunity to increase their use of recycled materials.

Grants of up to $300,000 are now open to local councils and alpine resort management boards to use recycled materials such as glass, paper, cardboard, plastics and rubber to build new infrastructure including roads, footpaths, outdoor park equipment, drainages and cycleways.

The grants are supported by the Government’s previous $4.5 million investment in the development and use of new recycled products through the Research, Development and Demonstration program – increasing the uptake of recycled products, improving market confidence and demand, and supporting innovation.

The Sustainable Infrastructure Fund supports the Victorian Government’s circular economy policy and 10-year action plan, Recycling Victoria.

Recycling Victoria will invest more than $300 million to:

  • transform its recycling sector
  • reduce waste
  • create thousands of jobs
  • set Victoria up for a more sustainable future

Grants in action

When the minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio launched the fund, she cited a $200,000 Research, Development and Demonstration Grant which had been awarded in October 2018. The project was a partnership between the Government, Boral, City of Whitehorse and RMIT University which developed an environmentally friendly concrete mix by utilising recycled plastics and crumb rubber.

As a result, the concrete mix will be used for a new footpath in Ailsa Street, Box Hill South in late August.

Grant applications for this round of funding close 3 pm, 8 October 2020.

This is the first of three funding rounds. Round 2 is planned for an October release and round 3 in January 2021.