Sat March 2, 2013

A Ray Of Sunshine For Abound As Former Rival Offers To Recycle Panels

The bankrupted company’s rival has offered to recycle solar panels that were deemed hazardous waste last week.

Solar panels soak up rays on the Colorado State University campus.
Credit Grace Hood / KUNC

First Solar in Tempe, Ariz., said it has approached its one-time opponent Abound Solar with the offer to recover materials from solar panels which caused the company to be in violation of Colorado’s hazardous waste laws, according to the Denver Post.

Abound filed for bankruptcy in July 2012, just two years after it received $400 million in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy. The company had used about $70 million of the guarantees.

The Northern Colorado Business Report says an inspector with the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment found 2,000 pallets of unsold solar panels in a Denver warehouse not approved for hazardous waste storage.

"It's going to cost $2.2 million for these panels to be disposed of."

Violations of hazardous waste rules can rack up hefty fines – potentially thousands of dollars per violation, per day. But state health officials aren’t fining the company at this point, according to NCBR reporter Steve Lynn.

"The Health Department wants to make sure that Abound Solar will have the resources, money available to take action to get rid of these panels if it cannot sell them," he said. "It’s going to cost $2.2 million for these panels to be disposed of," Lynn said.

The panels contain cadmium, a potentially cancer-causing metal, although officials say there is no immediate health risk.