Company with Texas solar panel recycling plant plans next facility out of state

Solarcycle's first facility is in Texas. It's next is headed for outside of Atlanta. Photo via

A company that recycles solar panels announced Thursday that it would build a $344 million factory in northwest Georgia, for the first time expanding to making new glass for panels.

Arizona-based Solarcycle, which was founded in 2022 and opened its first recycling facility in Odessa, Texas, said it would hire more than 600 workers in Cedartown, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta, for a factory opening in 2026. Earlier this month, the company opened a headquarters, research lab and second recycling facility in Mesa, Arizona, hiring more than 100 people.

Solarcycle says its automated recycling process can extract materials worth 95% of a solar panel's value, including silver, silicon, copper and aluminum. Solarcycle said would be able to recycle 1 million solar panels in Cedartown. Then it plans to make enough glass to make solar panels that could produce 5 gigawatts a year of electricity, using a combination of recycled glass and raw material. Solarcycle said it would sell the glass to companies that make solar panels in the United States.

Last week, South Korean-owned Qcells, which makes solar panels in nearby Dalton, said it had contracted with Solarcycle to recycle decommissioned Qcells panels in the United States. Solarcycle said it has similar contracts with more than 40 other solar energy companies.

The company chose Cedartown to be close to domestic solar panel makers, spokesperson Brooke Havlik said, saying the location offers rail and shipping infrastructure and workers.

Solarcycle has raised tens of millions of dollars from private investors for expansion, and Havlik said the Cedartown factory would largely be funded through private investment.

The company has also received $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund research and development, and Havlik said the companies that buy Solarcycle’s glass are expanding, “largely driven by incentives and tailwinds” created by Biden administration actions.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock credited President Joe Biden’s clean energy and healthcare law, the Inflation Reduction Act, with spurring Solarcycle’s investment, saying Georgians continue “to reap its benefits.”

Gov. Brian Kemp, though, has argued that Georgia's business environment deserves credit for attacting companies like Solarcycle and Qcells. Georgia Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said the company approached state economic recruiters at a trade show.

“Solarcycle provides a critical piece to the integrated solar supply chain we are building in Georgia,” Wilson said in a statement.

Solarcycle didn’t say how much workers will make, only describing pay and benefits as “competitive.”

The company could qualify for $9 million in state income tax credits, at $3,000 per job over five years, as long as workers make at least $31,300 a year. The company will also receive property tax breaks from Cedartown and Polk County, said Chris Thomas, the president and CEO of the Development Authority of Polk County, but he did not provide an estimate. Solarcycle said Georgia will also pay to train workers.

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A View From HETI

The work is "poised to revolutionize our understanding of fundamental physics," according to Rice University. Photo via

A team of Rice University physicists has been awarded a prestigious grant from the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Physics for their work in high-energy nuclear physics and research into a new state of matter.

The five-year $15.5 million grant will go towards Rice physics and astronomy professor Wei Li's discoveries focused on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), a large, general-purpose particle physics detector built on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, a European organization for nuclear research in France and Switzerland. The work is "poised to revolutionize our understanding of fundamental physics," according to a statement from Rice.

Li's team will work to develop an ultra-fast silicon timing detector, known as the endcap timing layer (ETL), that will provide upgrades to the CMS detector. The ETl is expected to have a time resolution of 30 picoseconds per particle, which will allow for more precise time-of-flight particle identification.

This will also help boost the performance of the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC), which is scheduled to launch at CERN in 2029, allowing it to operate at about 10 times the luminosity than originally planned. The ETL also has applications for other colliders apart from the LHC, including the DOE’s electron-ion collider at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York.

“The ETL will enable breakthrough science in the area of heavy ion collisions, allowing us to delve into the properties of a remarkable new state of matter called the quark-gluon plasma,” Li explained in a statement. “This, in turn, offers invaluable insights into the strong nuclear force that binds particles at the core of matter.”

The ETL is also expected to aid in other areas of physics, including the search for the Higgs particle and understanding the makeup of dark matter.

Li is joined on this work by co-principal investigator Frank Geurts and researchers Nicole Lewis and Mike Matveev from Rice. The team is collaborating with others from MIT, Oak Ridge National Lab, the University of Illinois Chicago and University of Kansas.

Last year, fellow Rice physicist Qimiao Si, a theoretical quantum physicist, earned the prestigious Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship grant. The five-year fellowship, with up to $3 million in funding, will go towards his work to establish an unconventional approach to create and control topological states of matter, which plays an important role in materials research and quantum computing.

Meanwhile, the DOE recently tapped three Houston universities to compete in its annual startup competition focused on "high-potential energy technologies,” including one team from Rice.

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