The University of Edinburgh and the international charity SolarAid (http://www.solar-aid.org/) have joined the Off-Grid Solar Recycling Incubator, a new Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) project promoting sustainability in the global off-grid solar industry. The Incubator—a partnership of university researchers, solar companies, and product users—will research and test off-grid solar devices, address end-of-life recycling issues, and promote more sustainable product design. More information about the Incubator is available here. Our two new partners will spearhead the creation of an international public database that addresses sustainability and end-of-life waste issues for off-grid products, components, and materials. The University of Edinburgh will also host an off-grid solar waste and recycling event for industry stakeholders in Kenya in early 2015. Partnership Highlights
- Public Database for Off-Grid Products: A non-proprietary/open access database will collect information on durability, functionality, recyclability, and toxicity for the most widely used off-grid solar products. The database will serve as a resource for researchers, consumers, product designers, manufacturers, recyclers, refurbishers, and other stakeholders, enabling them to evaluate products and apply Design for the Environment (DfE) approaches. Data will be collected through a system that allows international partners to collaborate and support ongoing database development and maintenance.
- Off-Grid Product Research and DfE Criteria: The University of Edinburgh will join SVTC, UC Santa Cruz, and a team of volunteers to disassemble widely used off-grid solar products and develop DfE criteria for the industry.
- International Off-Grid Recycling Workshop: The University of Edinburgh will host the first international workshop on waste and recycling in the global off-grid solar industry, to be held in Kenya in February/March 2015 (dates still to be confirmed).
More About the Incubator’s Newest Partners
- SolarAid, a leading international charity based in London, works in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia to develop market distribution channels for low-cost, high-quality solar lights. SolarAid is currently expanding its work to additional countries.
- Dr. Jamie Cross is a lecturer in social anthropology and deputy director of the Global Development Academy at the University of Edinburgh. His current research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), explores the social and material politics of markets for off-grid solar lighting in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. He is a technical advisor to SVTC and an advisory board member of SCENE, a social enterprise that supports community energy projects with research and consulting services.
- Dr. Colin Pritchard is a senior research fellow in the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Energy Systems, with expertise in renewable energy technology and rural development. As a partner in the UK SUPERGEN PV Consortia, the Institute for Energy Systems is working to support research and development related to thin film PV, currently the fastest growing PV production technology.
- James Turing is a fourth-year University of Edinburgh student in structural engineering with architecture; he will be conducting field research in Malawi on solar PV recycling and hazardous materials.
Learn more about the SVTC’s Off-Grid Solar Recycling Incubator