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Solar E-Waste Challenge

A program to support innovations in off-grid solar e-waste management.

Kenyan Coast

Off-grid solar technologies provide life-changing access to modern energy services for people and communities currently living without electricity. The global market for these products is nascent but growing quickly. In 2017, the off-grid solar sector provided new or enhanced access to energy for an estimated 73 million households – over 360 million people – with significant year-over-year growth expected into the future.

E-waste generated by the off-grid solar sector represents less than 0.1% of global e-waste streams, but investment now will ensure the industry’s growth is sustainable over the long term and further enhance the sector’s reputation as a leader in environmental responsibility.

The Global LEAP Solar E-Waste Challenge will make $1.6 million in grant funding available to companies with innovative approaches to e-waste management in the off-grid solar sector in sub-Saharan Africa, which includes solar lanterns, solar home systems (SHSs), and solar-powered appliances at their end-of-life.

Grant funding is available for recycling and e-waste management companies who work with (or plan to work with) the off-grid solar sector operating across sub-Saharan Africa, other specialized e-waste service providers, and off-grid solar distributors who want to pilot or expand end-of-life operations.

Successful applicants will receive funding to support implementation of their proposed projects over a 12-month period. A series of case studies based on lessons learned from each project will be developed at the end of the implementation period.

For further information, please contact [email protected].

Ewaste timeline Jul 2019

Solar e-waste consists of all the materials and component parts that make up off-grid solar products. This ranges from lead acid and lithium-based batteries to copper cabling and the silicon in solar panels. Some of these materials have cash value while others do not.

The economics of solar e-waste are challenging given current market dynamics and the costs associated with product take-back and collection. The Global LEAP Solar E-Waste Challenge aims to catalyze innovative thinking that helps overcome these barriers to solar e-waste management.