ITOCHU Announces Signing of Capital and Business Alliances with ROSI, a Solar Panel Recycling Business Operator

November 29, 2022

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter "ITOCHU") announced today that it has signed capital and business alliances with ROSI SAS (headquartered in France; Yun Luo, CEO; hereinafter "ROSI"), in which it will subscribe to shares issued by ROSI by means of private placement. ROSI develops and owns advanced solar panel recycling technologies, and ITOCHU has entered into these alliances with the aim of promoting and expanding the solar panel recycling business.

In recent years, there is widespread global concern that mass disposal of solar panels that have reached the end of their service lives will occur in the near future.
The number of photovoltaic power generation facilities installed has grown rapidly with the introduction of renewable energy feed-in tariff (FIT) schemes, introduced in Europe in the late 2000s and in Japan since 2012. At the same time, the service life of solar panels is generally said to be around 20 years. In Japan, too, mass disposal of solar panels is expected to increase at an accelerated pace from around 2030. The amount of solar panels being disposed of will grow to more than 10 times the current level over the next 10–15 years. By 2036, the amount of solar panel waste is expected to increase rapidly to around 170,000-280,000 tons, accounting for around 1.7–2.7% of the total amount of industrial waste being sent to landfill.*1 Establishing an appropriate recycling chain for these waste solar panels represents a major challenge for the future, in order to introduce sustainable renewable energy solutions for creating a decarbonized society.

ROSI was founded in 2017 in Europe, where the large-scale introduction of photovoltaic power generation facilities was pioneered ahead of other regions. The company develops and possesses advanced technologies for recovering and recycling silver, copper and silicon—which are the particularly high-valued materials contained in solar cells—at high purity. These techniques differ from the conventional method for recycling solar cells by physical crushing. ROSI was also commissioned to operate a public project for solar panel recycling held in France in 2021, and plans to commence operation of a commercial recycling plant also in France from the beginning of 2023. These efforts are also attracting attention in Europe.

ITOCHU has been engaged in the sale of solar panels both in Japan and overseas, driving the development of mega solar power plants, and working to expand the introduction of photovoltaic power generation equipment for both industrial and residential use in all areas, including both roof-mounted and ground-based solar panels—through its investments in VPP Japan, Inc. (which is engaged in the development of on-site distributed photovoltaic power generation facilities utilizing the rooftop space of commercial facilities) and Clean Energy Connect Co., Ltd. (which is engaged in the development of off-site distributed photovoltaic power generation facilities utilizing idle land around Japan). Going forward, ITOCHU will contribute to the establishment of a recycling chain for solar panels by combining photovoltaic power generation-related business know-how and networks developed by ITOCHU so far with ROSI’s advanced and highly economical recycling technologies. ITOCHU also plans to engage in joint efforts with ROSI to develop and expand the solar panel recycling business both in Japan and overseas.

ITOCHU has set "Realizing business transformation by shifting to a market-oriented perspective" and "Enhancing its contribution to and engagement with the SDGs through business activities" as Basic Policies under its medium-term management plan. Through its capital and business alliances with ROSI, ITOCHU will contribute to the development of a sustainable society by creating a new ecosystem and circular recycling business in the photovoltaic power generation business.

  • *1Source: New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) NEDO PV Challenges 2020

Company Profile

Company name ROSI SAS
Establishment 2017
Headquarter Grenoble France
Representative Yun Luo, CEO

Conceptual diagram of solar panel recycling

ROSI was awarded the Start-up of the Year award by EY France. Scene from the award ceremony in October 2022