Analysis: How Can We Address the E-Waste Challenge and Promote a Sustainable Off-Grid Solar Industry?
We are glad to see off-grid solar recognised for its fundamental role in reaching SDG7 and for how off-grid technologies are improving the quality of life of energy-poor homes and businesses in Africa in a recent article published by UNSW. We also fully share the author’s concerns about how many products and installations remain of poor quality, and the negative consequences this has, both on customer satisfaction and on the environment through e-waste generation. At the same time, it is good to recognize the many important steps being taken by companies offering these solutions, to act responsibly and address these issues.
At GOGLA we have been working with industry leaders for several years to address product quality and e-waste challenges and to support companies in their work to achieve sustainability and impact. For example, in Kenya, off-grid solar companies have driven an initiative to establish the country’s first Producer Responsibility Organisation for E-waste (E-PROK). The Producer Responsibility Organisation has the mandate and capability to engage with off-grid solar companies to reduce the e-waste burden and engage informal recycling and repair sectors. It also goes much further, addressing e-waste from the telecoms industry, consumer electronics industry and more. It has laid the blueprint for similar action in other markets.