CleanTechies Podcast

#169 Urban Mining, Solar Panel Lifespan, End of Life Engineering, & More w/ Adam Saghei (WeRecycleSolar)

April 03, 2024 Silas MΓ€hner (Climate Headhunter) & Somil Aggarwal (Climate PM & VC) Season 1 Episode 169
#169 Urban Mining, Solar Panel Lifespan, End of Life Engineering, & More w/ Adam Saghei (WeRecycleSolar)
CleanTechies Podcast
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CleanTechies Podcast
#169 Urban Mining, Solar Panel Lifespan, End of Life Engineering, & More w/ Adam Saghei (WeRecycleSolar)
Apr 03, 2024 Season 1 Episode 169
Silas MΓ€hner (Climate Headhunter) & Somil Aggarwal (Climate PM & VC)

Are you curious about what happens to solar panels when they are no longer usable? Maybe your crazy uncle's statements from last Thanksgiving about how solar doesn't work are still echoing.

Well, look no further. Today, we are speaking with Adam Saghei, Founder of WeRecycleSolar, and we are discussing the end of life for solar panels.

How circular can we make the supply chain? What can OEMs learn about their products' end-of-life? What is the REAL lifespan of a solar panel? How is this reality affecting investor returns? How are solar panels being refurbished and resold? And how are investors getting early upgrades to make a higher return despite the additional capex?

Let's get into it. 🌱🌎

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-----
Topics:
**01:34 Intro and Background
**03:15 The Problem of End-of-Life Solar Panels
**08:52 Financial Implications of Shorter Lifespan
**13:33 Recycling and Refurbishing Panels
**16:21 Reusing Materials in the Supply Chain
**21:06 Origins of We Recycle Solar
**23:29 Introduction to Returns Management Programs
**24:28 Starting the Refurbishing and Recycling Process
**25:32 Pivoting to a New Business Model
**26:44 Entrepreneurial Mindset and Taking Risks
**28:14 Scaling the Business and Future Growth
**30:51 Technology and Innovation in Recycling Processes
**31:38 Intellectual Property and Strategic Components
**32:34 Business Model and Potential Partnerships
**35:54 Current Scale and Future Goals
**38:24 Roadblocks and Challenges
**39:15 Funding and Bootstrapping the Business
**40:54 Acquiring Talent and Building Culture
**43:38 Supporting the Future of the Industry
**49:29 Takeaways

-----
Links:
**Adam Saghei | WeRecycleSolar
**Follow CleanTechies on LinkedIn
**@Silas & @Somil_Agg on X 

Support the Show.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are you curious about what happens to solar panels when they are no longer usable? Maybe your crazy uncle's statements from last Thanksgiving about how solar doesn't work are still echoing.

Well, look no further. Today, we are speaking with Adam Saghei, Founder of WeRecycleSolar, and we are discussing the end of life for solar panels.

How circular can we make the supply chain? What can OEMs learn about their products' end-of-life? What is the REAL lifespan of a solar panel? How is this reality affecting investor returns? How are solar panels being refurbished and resold? And how are investors getting early upgrades to make a higher return despite the additional capex?

Let's get into it. 🌱🌎

---
🌎 Want the full PodLetter? Go to our substack to see the written content that supplements the audio interview.  
---

🌴 https://linktr.ee/cleantechies
πŸ“Ί πŸ‘€ Prefer to watch: subscribe on YouTube
πŸ—£οΈ Take the Listeners Survey
πŸ“« Get Written Summaries of Each Episode in Your Inbox
🌐 Join the CleanTechies Slack Channel

-----
Topics:
**01:34 Intro and Background
**03:15 The Problem of End-of-Life Solar Panels
**08:52 Financial Implications of Shorter Lifespan
**13:33 Recycling and Refurbishing Panels
**16:21 Reusing Materials in the Supply Chain
**21:06 Origins of We Recycle Solar
**23:29 Introduction to Returns Management Programs
**24:28 Starting the Refurbishing and Recycling Process
**25:32 Pivoting to a New Business Model
**26:44 Entrepreneurial Mindset and Taking Risks
**28:14 Scaling the Business and Future Growth
**30:51 Technology and Innovation in Recycling Processes
**31:38 Intellectual Property and Strategic Components
**32:34 Business Model and Potential Partnerships
**35:54 Current Scale and Future Goals
**38:24 Roadblocks and Challenges
**39:15 Funding and Bootstrapping the Business
**40:54 Acquiring Talent and Building Culture
**43:38 Supporting the Future of the Industry
**49:29 Takeaways

-----
Links:
**Adam Saghei | WeRecycleSolar
**Follow CleanTechies on LinkedIn
**@Silas & @Somil_Agg on X 

Support the Show.

You're seeing that the used modules are in many cases going and feeding other underserved markets.

0:06

And then you have commodities coming within the U.S.

0:09

market within the urban mining conversation, and that is feeding yet another industry.

0:15

So this is the feedstock to a lot of different conversations in production and accessibility to renewable energy to other markets.

SPEAKER 3

0:24

Welcome back to the CleanTechies Podcast where we interview the top climate tech founders and investors to share their stories, advice, and lessons when it comes to building, investing, and climate.

0:34

Curious about what happens to solar panels when they are no longer usable?

0:37

Maybe you really want a good answer to your crazy uncle next time you meet him about what happens to all these solar panels when they're done.

0:43

Well, look no further.

0:45

Today we are speaking with Adam Saghei, founder and CEO of We Recycle Solar, and we are discussing all things end of life for solar panels.

0:54

including how circular can we make the supply chain, what are the OEMs able to learn about their product's end of life through partnering with We Recycle Solar, what are the real lifespan of solar panels, how is this reality affecting investor returns, refurbishing and reselling solar panels, how investors are even getting early upgrades in order to make a higher return despite the additional capex,

1:19

and finally, how WeRecycle is targeting to process half a million panels in 2024.

1:25

Introduction and Background
The Problem of End-of-Life Solar Panels
Financial Implications of Shorter Lifespan
Recycling and Refurbishing Panels
Reusing Materials in the Supply Chain
Origins of We Recycle Solar
Introduction to Returns Management Programs
Starting the Refurbishing and Recycling Process
Pivoting to a New Business Model
Entrepreneurial Mindset and Taking Risks
Scaling the Business and Future Growth
Technology and Innovation in Recycling Processes
Intellectual Property and Strategic Components
Business Model and Potential Partnerships
Current Scale and Future Goals
Roadblocks and Challenges
Funding and Bootstrapping the Business
Acquiring Talent and Building Culture
Supporting the Future of the Industry
Takeaways