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First-hand information: meet Josef Gmeiner, CEO, and Toralf Nitsch, COO of Rinovasol
Find out more about the project here to make your investment decision with the necessary background knowledge.
Photovoltaics form an important component of renewable energy production. In 2020, its share of the electricity mix was 10.5 per cent. Together, the renewable energy systems - solar power, wind energy, bioenergy and hydropower - were able to generate more electricity than fossil power plants for the first time last year. And it's about time. After all, at least 65 percent of electricity is to come from renewable sources in 2030.
According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), solar energy is the most cost-effective technology for generating electricity in Germany. Photovoltaic systems are also very efficient in terms of energy - after a maximum of two years they have produced as much energy as was used for their production.
Such technology is of course worth preserving. That is why Rinovasol has developed a process to refurbish used modules and thus make them usable again.
The process known as "refurbishment" protects the environment in several ways. On the one hand, the steadily growing demand for solar modules is covered in the sense of a circular economy. Secondly, the refurbishment process produces less waste. The recycling of photovoltaic panels is possible and is also covered by Rinovasol. But why dispose of them when they can still be used?
"The use of photovoltaics must also support the goals of resource efficiency, the careful use of our earth's natural resources."
This is what Rinovasol stands for. To date, the company has refurbished or recycled almost one million solar modules. In order to increase production capacity, the main plant in Weiden in der Oberpfalz is being converted to an almost fully automated production line. Among other things, investments are being made in robotics, or more precisely: in high-performance cameras, scanners and lasers for the production modules.
With the new equipment, 1,000 modules can be refurbished per shift and line. Two shifts per day with a maximum of six people are possible. In other words, production can be ramped up to 6,000 module refurbishments.
Investing in Rinovasol is about raising growth capital for a company that perfectly aligns our three pillars of entrepreneurship, sustainability and innovation. In addition, there is a sustainable business model in a growth market.
If you invest by 15 April 2021, you will receive an additional 1 percent interest p.a. on the capital you have invested. This brings the interest payment to a total of 8 percent p.a.
By the way: We also offer you interest accrues from day 1 on this project.
Rinovasol already has a world-leading patented technology. The polymer used in the renovation was further developed by Rinovasol from a material used in the military and aerospace sector. Rinovasol holds the exclusive global rights of use.
In 2020, around 1.2 million euros profit on a turnover of 7.5 million euros. This corresponds to a profit margin of 16 percent.
More than 95 percent of all solar modules can be renovated with the Rinovasol process.
Almost one million panels have already been refurbished or recycled.
Rinovasol covers the entire vertical value chain in the context of photovoltaics. Modules that cannot be refurbished, for example, are fed into the group's own recycling system.
Rinovasol has developed its own supply chain in the form of its own PC Collect collection system. This includes a fully planned, standardised collection of the solar modules, specially developed transport pallets and an optimal storage system. This guarantees independence, transport safety, economic and time efficiency and saves CO2 on top of that.
Rinovasol is already active in 40 countries and maintains global and long-term partnerships. Partners include leading producers from China, the main supplier of photovoltaic modules, as well as insurance companies.
Who is actually behind the project? Here we have compiled information about the company and its team.
A strong team: Toralf Nitsch, COO, and Josef Gmeiner, CEO of Rinovasol
"Solar Energy is magic" is Toralf Nitsch's motto. With enthusiasm and innovative power, Toralf Nitsch repeatedly brings ideas from the solar industry to life. One example is the world's first solar modules with storage and plug (balcony power plants), which Mr. Nitsch developed together with his team. Once again, these activities will bring about a change in the market. Disruptive solutions to urgent questions of today's photovoltaic industry are Toralf Nitsch's speciality.
Technical talent and entrepreneurship with passion, that is what distinguishes Josef Gmeiner. He was already globally active with his companies in his younger years. For over 10 years, Josef Gmeiner has been active in the solar industry as a project planner and full-service provider of turnkey solar plants. His idea to refurbish solar modules is the cornerstone of the Rinovasol Group.
Energy is a fundamental right - this is Josef Gmeiner's opinion and at the same time motivated him to found Rinovasol. His company repairs and recycles solar modules and thus contributes to promoting the expansion of photovoltaics in a sustainable way. In the first part of our interview, he explains what makes Rinovasol special among the competition. He also provides insights into his personal experiences and ventures a look into the future.
The Rinovasol group of companies covers the complete vertical value chain around the production, refurbishment, recall and recycling of photovoltaic modules.
The issuer of this investment is Rinovasol Global O and M GmbH, which specialises in the refurbishment and recycling of solar modules. The refurbishment of the panels does not only take place in the main factory in Weiden. So-called contract refurbishment is also possible, which takes place directly in the photovoltaic parks. Repair work also takes place here; the range of services also includes the assembly and dismantling of complete solar parks.
Rinovasol also offers its services to insurance companies that want to reduce their costs for insurance claims in this area and thus make these areas more profitable again.
Rinovasol's clients are primarily companies that manufacture and operate solar plants. In addition, a close network of banks, insurance companies, investment funds and strategic partners from the recycling industry is maintained.
Rinovasol is considered the market and technology leader in the refurbishment of photovoltaic modules. With this, the company solves a problem that manufacturers are often confronted with, even after decades of experience in photovoltaic development. The sore spot is the back foils of the photovoltaic modules. Around 10 % of all modules fail within the manufacturer's factory warranty because of this. As a warranty case, they would have to be disposed of and replaced at the manufacturer's expense. This can be avoided with the repair by Rinovasol.
Here's what you need to know:
The backsheet foils have an important function in the production of a photovoltaic module. They are intended to seal the solar cells and the contacts between the safety glass and thus prevent corrosion. At the same time, the stability and rigidity of the entire module should be maintained. The total thickness of the films is between 100 µm and 500 µm and includes elongation strengths of up to 300 MPa.
During production, the films are joined to the remaining layers in a lamination process. Under pressure and temperature, the encapsulation material is combined with the glass and the film to form a solid bond.
Depending on the weather conditions and the place of use, the backsheet films used become porous after five to eight years and start to lose their gloss and smoothness. They become chalky and matt and start to degrade under the sun's UV radiation. In the next stage, they lose more and more grip and eventually crack in the gaps along the solar cells.
The consequences: The insulation strength is lost and the modules become permeable to environmental influences. As a result, the conductor paths and metal contacts inside begin to corrode. This initially causes the failure of individual solar cells. Later, the entire module fails.
When the modules arrive at the Rinovasol factory, the first step is the internal goods receipt with the booking of the goods that have arrived.
The state and number of modules are recorded in an ERP system. The states are divided into the following six categories:
In parallel, the PV modules undergo an anonymisation process. The manufacturer tags on the back of each module are removed by hand without damaging the back foil. The manufacturer's logo and the serial number between the front glass and the inner foil are made unrecognisable in a laser process.
Subsequently, the basic functionality of the used solar modules is checked within the scope of a visual inspection. In the process, certain components of the modules are checked for integrity and completeness. These include the front glass, the condition of the solar cells, the connection box on the back of the module, the connection cables. If these components of a PV module are undamaged, functionality can be ensured regardless of the output power.
After a cleaning and drying process, the modules first land on a coating device. It covers the frame surfaces to concentrate the spray only on the backsheet. The material used for the finishing is based on two components.
One component is a liquid plastic (polymer) that is not affected by heat or humidity. This is a further development carried out by Rinovasol of a material from the military and aerospace sector. Rinovasol exclusively owns the worldwide rights of use.
The second component is an isocyanate-based curing material that serves as a reactant. The duration of the processing time (drip time) is determined by the ratio of both components. Without external accelerators, the time in which the material is in liquid and processable form is approx. 45 minutes.
The material is applied with a low-pressure system that homogenises both components shortly before the start of the spray hose and processes them with a very low spray mist. The layer thickness for successful crack bridging with the material is approx. 190 μm, depending on the crack width and surface condition of the module.
Subsequently, the wet coated PV modules are conveyed to the second infrared blocks for polymerisation. Under a precisely tuned infrared radiation, both coatings react chemically and form long-chain molecules.
A large part of the process is to be automated over time. This will enormously increase the quality and output of the sealed photovoltaic modules.
Cleaning times are reduced to a minimum with an automatic washing station, for example. This means that the preparatory work takes place at a consistent quality and higher speed.
The drying stage can be optimised and improved in terms of process time and performance by integrating infrared deep drying into the washing machine.
Automation of the coating process is also planned. An automatic coating system would recognise the backside condition of the PV module through a scan and initiate and carry out the process to be applied. The goal is faster sealing processes, optimal coating thicknesses and thus higher productivity of the process. By detecting the degree of damage on the PV backside, the amount and consistency of the material would be independently adjustable. This leads to further cost savings.
A good basis for making an investment decision always includes the corresponding business figures.
Get a better overview of the industry and its environment so that you can better assess the market.
The share of solar power in the energy mix is growing every year. An increasing number of plants as well as improved technology over the years contribute to photovoltaics becoming an increasingly important part of renewable energies - and at low cost.
Worldwide, capacities are also steadily increasing. 80 % of global solar demand is accounted for by the five industrial nations China, Japan, USA, England and Germany (source: NPD Solarbuzz). Cumulatively, around one third of global photovoltaic capacity is installed in China. In Germany, it is still one tenth.
Millions of solar modules are needed to achieve these goals. China is currently the largest producer. A quarter of the world's solar capacity comes from the People's Republic.
In their economic considerations, solar module manufacturers assume life spans of at least 20 years and guarantee their customers the functionality of the photovoltaic modules for this period. However, they outdo themselves in this liability statement. Around ten percent of all PV modules fail much earlier than guaranteed by the manufacturer due to defective backsheet films.
Thanks to Rinovasol's patented refurbishing process, over 95 percent of all modules can be refurbished and put back into use. Through the extended life cycle, Rinovasol ensures that the demand for high-quality solar modules can be met in the long term.
Rinovasol tackles another problem with the reprocessing of solar panels. What actually happens to the panels after they are used? Huge amounts of waste are produced here. Already in 2017, the waste amounts to 43,500 tonnes. By 2050, it will be 60 million tonnes.
Rinovasol is therefore combating the waste problem. If it is possible, outdated or damaged modules are refurbished from the ground up and are ready for use again. If this is no longer possible, the panels are recycled by Rinovasol. The high-quality raw materials are returned to the circular economy.
To date, Rinovasol has been able to refurbish or recycle around one million photovoltaic modules.
Facts and figures are not everything. Here you will find more information worth knowing as well as regular news.
Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. demands: Opportunities to reuse photovoltaic modules should be specifically promoted
In order to successfully counter the climate crisis, the path to a true circular economy must be taken. One component of this is to give discarded photovoltaic modules a second life.
In its current white paper "Strengthening the circular economy in the solar sector", Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. explicitly advocates making photovoltaic modules a genuine part of the circular economy and giving Germany a pioneering position in the high-quality collection, repair, reuse and recycling of solar systems.
Ökologisch und ökonomisch sinnvoll: Alte Photovoltaikmodule weiterverwenden (Ecologically and economically sensible: reuse old photovoltaic modules)
Rinovasol: Strategisches Wachstum mit Spezialisten (Rinovasol: Strategic growth with experts)
Rinovasol erweitert Ressourcen in der Produktion (Rinovasol expands resources in production)
Rinovasol erweitert PV-Recycling mit Solarworld-Anlagen (Rinovasol expands PV recycling with Solarworld systems)
For more information on the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), see the Corporate Social Responsibility page.
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