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Tens of Millions Now Have Power Thanks to Off-Grid Solar Systems, Much of Them Recycled and Reused

Jon Strand, CC license

While off-grid solar electricity remains rare in the United States, it powers 420 million people worldwide.

In addition, it has created a totally unexpected market with a value of more than a billion dollars annually. It is unexpected because, as the first and even the second generation of solar panels near the end of their life cycle, pioneers and advocates of renewable energy are rushing to try to find ways to prevent them from flooding landfills with millions. tons of electronic devices. waste.

The International Renewable Energy Agency reports that, by 2050, there will only be slightly more new panels installed per year than panels in dismantling, and this is projected to grow to 6% of global e-waste flows.

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The solution to the problem of solar debris growth is perhaps to see that a degraded solar panel only needs a little repair to make it almost as good as new.

Since 2017, the off-grid solar industry revenue continues to grow rapidly, increasing by 30% annually, World Bank report, who add that 180 million solar panels were sold off-grid to people in countries like Nigeria, Pakistan and Lebanon.

In countries like these, reliable power for those outside the big cities is not the norm. Poor infrastructure and limited investment currently restrict access to electricity to about one-ninth of the world’s population.

While it might not be good enough to maintain government or industry imposed standards for power generation on a Google campus, the retired solar panels are often fine to meet the needs of powering a home, power pump water or something equally small.

A small opinion piece on Bloomberg Commenting on these recent reports, it was noted that the second-hand market shipments of recalled solar panels of several thousand are quite normal.

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In the southern hemisphere, it would only take an investment of $ 11 billion under current market conditions to expand the second-hand solar trade to all inhabitants without power.

“The off-grid solar industry is critical to achieving universal access to electricity,” said Riccardo Puliti of the report, the World Bank’s Regional Director of Infrastructure for Africa. “We are expanding our support to client countries by helping them realize this potential through innovative and financially sustainable solutions.”

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