Towards a repair research agenda for off-grid solar e-waste in the Global South

Paul G. Munro*, Shanil Samarakoon, Ulrich E. Hansen, Matthew Kearnes, Anna Bruce, Jamie Cross, Sarah Walker, Collen Zalengera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There has been a boom in the sale of small-scale off-grid solar products across the Global South over the past decade. A substantial portion of this boom has been driven by international investment in off-grid solar start-up companies, and a formalized off-grid solar sector has been established, with the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association acting as a key representative body. Although this boom has aided in extending electricity access to many energy-poor households and businesses, an emerging concern is the short (three to four years) working life that these off-grid solar products typically have. This has led to a growing issue of solar e-waste. Here we examine how the structure of the off-grid solar sector results in substantial barriers to addressing solar e-waste in the Global South. We consider how practices of repair might contribute to addressing the issue, and set out a research agenda to facilitate new approaches to the issues of solar e-waste.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123–128
Number of pages6
JournalNature Energy
Early online date22 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • development studies
  • energy and society
  • energy science and technology
  • geography


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