Both solar and the farming industry are beginning to see potential in the combined use of land for food production and energy generation. And as innovators begin to experiment with different forms, it’s becoming clear that in most cases it is solar that will have to bend to the needs of agriculture, and not the other way around, to ensure a positive outcome.
Offgrid solar expert GOGLA has just issued an E-waste Toolkit as part of its drive to establish a circular-powered renewable energy economy. Tying into the UP initiative’s Q4 circular manufacturing theme, pv magazine interviewed Drew Corbyn, GOGLA’s head of performance and investment, and the project manager in charge of the non-profit’s new e-waste management project.
The EU Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment remains the primary legislation setting the requirements for the recycling of photovoltaic panels in Europe. pv magazine examines whether the policy is in need of a drastic update, and what it can be done to improve the sustainability of the PV sector through recycling.
Slowly but surely, environmental concerns are making their way into mainstream thought throughout the PV industry. A look at recycling offers an example of this, with stakeholders trying to get ahead of the high volumes of end-of-life modules already on the horizon. pv magazine examines the technologies that will be needed, alongside policy and economic support, to keep the bulk of these modules out of landfill and ultimately to establish a circular economy for PV materials.
Rising volumes of solar capacity are to be welcomed but, as panelists at a session of today’s SolarPower Europe event discussed, the technology must be kept ethical and responsible. That means industry working together; new, harmonized, mandatory and voluntary policy instruments; and a focus on quantifiable, life cycle-based investor criteria.
A number of companies are now racing to find new materials to replace toxic or otherwise unsafe elements in PV modules, in pursuit of circular economic ideals. In a similar vein, many researchers are also looking for ways to recycle and reuse some of these materials at the end of solar panel lifetimes. In line with these efforts, artificial intelligence and machine learning now play a critical role in identifying new chemical footprints for PV modules and cells.
The solar industry faces many challenges in its move to become truly sustainable and that goal is imperative, rather than being simply a luxury, if the sector is to achieve terawatt scale. pv magazine’s first Sustainability Roundtable took place on June 10 and included discussion as to why sustainability matters in PV and which business, regulatory and technological approaches can be applied to achieve truly “green” solar power. A video of the event can be streamed online.
Green bonds have experienced rapid growth since their inception in 2007, and participants in the solar energy industry stand to benefit. In 2019, issuers launched over US$250 billion in green bonds offerings, representing 51% growth year over year.
European citizens and stakeholders have until midnight June 3 to comment on a set of draft EU rules for a new financing mechanism that would enable member states to finance renewable energy projects in other member states as a way of reaching their 2030 renewable targets.
From playing a key role in facilitating the scaling of the solar sector, to opening new markets and enabling grid and energy storage technologies, multilateral financial institutions have been an important part of the ongoing global energy transition. And as Felicia Jackson writes from London, with the expansion of “green banks” and clean-energy lending, the role of these institutions is only set to expand.
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