Recyclable plastic pallets for solar modules enter test market

The first recyclable, reusable, adjustable and collapsible pallet system designed specifically for shipping and protecting solar PV modules is ready to be tested with key customers. PV pallet aims to replace traditional wooden shipping pallets.

Credit: PV Pallet

Luke Phelps, co-founder and general manager of PVpallet, emphasized the importance of understanding the “full picture” of a wood pallet’s life cycle: construction costs, labor, transportation and handling costs, PV module breakage rates and disposal costs.

In 2020 alone, an estimated 198,000 trees were needed to build the 1,580,000 wooden pallets that shipped solar PV modules. When wooden pallets become unusable, often after one use, they are usually thrown away. As a result, the solar industry contributed an estimated 60 million pounds of wood waste to landfills in the US in 2020 alone.

That number is only set to grow as the solar industry shows double-digit growth year after year.

“PVpallet aims to change that trajectory by generating real, impactful results,” said Philip Shwarz, co-founder and leader in business development. “We want to revolutionize the solar industry and initiate an industry-wide shift in thinking – from a linear to a circular economy.”

PV pallets are made from discarded, recycled plastic. They are sturdy, fully collapsible, adapt to 80% to 90% of the solar PV modules on the market today and can be stacked without straining the solar panels themselves.

According to the forecasts, PV pallets will be reusable about 20 times and will be virtually waste-free. At the end of their life cycle, they can be ground and recycled into new PV pallets. Full PV pallet production is planned for Q1 2022.

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