The Nikkei reported that Japan’s Marubeni plans to create a trading site for used solar panels in association with Next Energy and Resources and the Ministry of the Environment. Blockchain will be used to record the performance evaluations of the recycled solar panels.
It’s expected that by the mid-2030s as much as 800,000 tons of solar panels will be replaced in Japan. And there are concerns about illegal dumping.
While solar panel efficiency declines over time, they do still have the capacity to generate electricity. Next Energy has a brand REBORN Technology which specializes in recycling photovaultic cells. It found that even after 25 years, a panel can still have as much as 80% of the generating capacity.
Today, the Marubeni group also announced that it is joining the Global Battery Alliance, a World Economic Forum initiative that focuses on a sustainable battery supply chain.
Marubeni is already leveraging blockchain both in the renewable energy sector and for sustainability initiatives. In 2019 it partnered with blockchain startup LO3 Energy to pilot a renewable energy marketplace.
The same year it invested in renewable energy marketplace WePower.
And earlier this year, it partnered with another blockchain startup Circularise to trace materials in the chemicals and plastics supply chain.
The 2011 tsunami in Japan resulted in a sudden reduction in the use of nuclear energy. While there has been an increase in focus on renewables, in reality, the nuclear shortfall has been made up by natural gas. The International Energy Agency stated this year that despite progress with renewables and some nuclear coming back online, the carbon intensity in Japan’s energy supply is still one of the highest in the world.