Innovations in Off-Grid Solar E-Waste Management

This report presents case studies on the first round of the inaugural Global LEAP Awards Solar E-Waste Challenge, offering detailed analysis of eight projects addressing growing e-waste levels from the off-grid solar sector in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, growing off-grid solar markets are enabling energy access for millions of vulnerable communities. But this growth comes at a cost. The proliferation of solar home systems, lights and associated appliances poses a threat to the environment and health of the very people benefitting from off-grid energy services.

In 2019, CLASP, through the Efficiency for Access Coalition, launched the inaugural Global LEAP Awards Solar E-Waste Challenge to identify innovations in off-grid solar e-waste management. Eight companies—five off-grid solar companies and three recycling centers—were chosen to implement pilots projects in five countries. This report outlines the key findings, lessons and next steps for the sector, broken down into the four themes of Awardee projects:

1. Access to Waste: Awareness Raising & Incentivisation

2. Designing Effective Take-Back & Collection Models

3. Encouraging Repair & Refurbishment

4. Improving the Recycling Infrastructure in African Markets

The aim of the report is to share the good practice to inform future efforts to address growing amounts of e-waste and advance the state of practice in the sector. In examining and analyzing the experiences of the Awardees, CLASP and GOGLA aim to share insights for others to replicate the successes and avoid some common pitfalls.