Solar Waste Action Plan (SWAP)

Consumer off-grid products are divided into three main categories: solar portable lanterns (SPL), solar multi-light systems (MLS) and Solar Home Systems (SHS). Solar Portable Lanterns (above) are single light systems, with or without mobile charging facility, consisting usually of a solar panel, a Lithium battery as well as plastic and steel, weighing usually less than 1 kg

Photo credit: Robert Foster, Winrock International


Context and objectives

Off-grid solar technologies are creating an immense positive impact in India by bringing energy access to large sections of society that were previously cut-off from essential modern technologies. This is enabling the wider adoption of electrical and electronic products such as televisions, refrigerators, fans, mobile phones and computers well beyond urban confines.  

Although the benefits of energy access in improving quality of life are well documented, there are gaps in ensuring a circular economy for solar products. The main challenges at the end-of-life for solar products in India are:

  • Little or no understanding of the routes and mechanisms of disposal
  • No existing infrastructure for collection, particularly from more rural and remote areas
  • High cost of transport and recycling that is not compensated by the intrinsic value of the waste products.

Off-grid solar products share common components and fractions with end-of-life electronics, batteries and vehicles. The solar industry can therefore learn from the experiences and leverage on the existing infrastructure for take-back and recycling of end-of-life electronics and automotive/industrial batteries.

This project aims to design and test a blueprint for responsible management of solar waste in India and help upscale local capacity for managing such a waste stream. The project consists of two core modules with the following main objectives:

Module 1: Collection and Recycling Pilot 

  • Establishing a financial and technical baseline for the collection and recycling of solar waste according to applicable standards

Module 2: Incubation and Technology Transfer

  • Identification of appropriate technology and approaches for development of local collection and treatment capacity
  • Support the development of dedicated local infrastructure for key fractions of solar products

This sector-wide project received initial seed-funding from Signify Foundation and is supported by GOGLA and PV Cycle.

For more information

GOGLA supports the initiative as the voice of the off-grid solar industry

Signify Foundation

PV cycle has since many years a relation to a treatment plant of PV production scrap in India and ans to set up a voluntary take-back programme for EoL PV Panels in India

To know more about the project, contact Federico Magalini or Deepali Sinha Khetriwal

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