Tackling solar e-waste

Electronic technology has been transformational in the lives of many, but what happens when these devices reach the end of their useful life? In 2019, the world generated 54.6 metric tonnes of e-waste yet, only 17% was recycled – degrading the environment, harming human health and losing valuable materials such as precious metals. 

At SolarAid, we know a solar light changes everything in the flick of a switch, but what happens when the light becomes dull or stops working altogether? 

We are committed to keep working on solutions reducing E-Waste by facilitating and advocating for recycling, as well as by training repair technicians to fix faulty solar lights. By developing the capacity of local technicians to repair common solar light faults, people can continue to enjoy the benefits of clean, safe and affordable solar light even longer.

To do this, we have created a mobile repair app and repair manual to allow people in rural communities to troubleshoot problems and help more people undertake simple repairs on their solar lights. We have also developed SunnyMoney approved repair shops and provided the additional training a repair technician may need to fix a faulty light. This has included sourcing quality parts and advocating for the right to repair.

Ensuring our lights work for longer means fewer people choosing harmful lighting options and making sure we don’t contribute to Africa’s growing problem of e-waste. We’re ready for a repair revolution.

"SolarAid has distributed millions of solar lights across Africa as a clean, safe and renewable alternative to kerosene lamps, candles and disposable batteries. We also support the development of repair networks to extend the life of solar products and advocate for improved recycling capacity so as to keep e-waste to a minimum."
John Keane, SolarAid CEO

Taking a stand to reduce Solar E-Waste

Fred Mwale, SolarAid Zambia’s E-waste Programme Manager has been leading the "Solar Saver: Second-generation lights project" which is being rolled out by setting up repair shops and training technicians in rural areas.