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The Global LEAP Awards Announce 2019 Solar E-Waste Challenge Winners

Nairobi — The Global LEAP Awards have announced the winners of the 2019 Solar E-Waste Challenge. The Solar E-Waste Challenge identifies and funds innovative approaches to e-waste management in the off-grid solar sector in sub-Saharan Africa, which includes solar lanterns, solar home systems (SHS), and solar-powered appliances at the end of life. The Challenge is supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), UK government Department for International Development (DFID), and the UK-registered charity Shell Foundation–through the Scaling Off-Grid Energy (SOGE) Grand Challenge for Development and Transforming Energy Access (TEA) programmes.

“USAID, DFID, and Shell Foundation−as part of our commitment to the Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge−are proud to support one of the first initiatives addressing the legacy of the off-grid sector. This is a priority for donors contributing to the growth of the household solar industry to ensure smart e-waste management and recycling solutions for the future.”

− Maurice Kent, Director of Scaling Off-Grid Energy

Sustainable management of solar e-waste is an emerging priority for the off-grid solar sector. A recent study estimates that 26.2 million solar lanterns and SHSs have already reached their end-of-life in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. As the number of solar products in circulation increases every day, action now will ensure the infrastructure is in place to manage these products at their end-of-life.

The inaugural Global LEAP Solar E-Waste Challenge opened for applications in March 2019. Applications were sought from 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 providers, and off-grid solar distributors who want to pilot to expand end-of-life operations. This Challenge supports the greater aim of the program, to catalyze broad and long-term action to address the mounting e-waste challenge in the region.

The Global LEAP Solar E-Waste Challenge received 159 applications to implement projects in 49 countries across the continent. The diverse submissions included project proposals for capacity building, product take-back programs, recycling and repair, tech-based solutions, and consumer awareness. The countries with the highest number of project proposals were Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania.

"We are delighted that there was such significant interest in this call. We hope these projects are able to demonstrate new ways that the sector can manage e-waste safely, whilst delivering local economic value.”

- Jon Lane, Programme Director for TEA at the Carbon Trust

Competition winners will receive between $50,000-$200,000 in grant funding to implement projects over a 12-month period subject to contract agreement and due diligence.

During the implementation period, the projects will collect targeted economic and social data to answer key research questions. A series of case studies based on the target economics, business and value chain models, and lessons learned from each project will also be developed and publicly disseminated.

For more information on the Global LEAP Solar E-Waste Challenge, visit: https://globalleapawards.org/e-waste


2019 Global LEAP Solar E-Waste Challenge awardees:

Recycling companies

Enviroserve (Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Uganda)

Hinckley (Nigeria)

WE Hub (Kenya)

WEEE Centre (Kenya)

Solar Distribution Companies

d.light (Kenya)

Fenix International (Uganda)

Solibrium Solar (Kenya)

Sunny Money (Zambia)

Learn more about the awardees.