Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) has developed lightweight circular solar panels with Dutch company Solarge, which can be used on roofs that would not be able to sustain the weight of conventional panels.

The Riyadh-based chemicals company said it had worked with Solarge, based in Weert, the Netherlands, to develop the low carbon footprint solar panels made from polypropylene (PP) compounds.

SABIC said many building roofs cannot sustain the weight of the current glass photovoltaic (PV) panels, but SABIC’s PP compounds are 50% lighter.

The panels have a 25% lower carbon footprint and can be reused in their own production after 25 years.

“These features attract a high demand for application on industrial roofs as customers in the commercial and industrial building segment seek lighter and more energy efficient alternatives,” the company said.

The PP compounds will be produced at SABIC’s polypropylene compounding site in Genk, Belgium, where 50 of the panels have already been installed on the roof as part of an installation of nearly 5,000 panels during 2023.

Earlier this month, SABIC reported a Q1 profit fall, citing decreasing sales prices and volumes. 

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)