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USAID Announces Winners of the Second Solar E-Waste Challenge

Nairobi-- Last week at the Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo, David Stonehill, Beyond the Grid Lead at Power Africa, announced the four winners of the second Global LEAP Awards Solar E-Waste Challenge. This round of the competition, supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Scaling Off-Grid Energy (SOGE) Grand Challenge for Development, will make grants of up to $300,000 USD available for innovative product and battery design for the off-grid solar sector in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Off-grid solar products are and will be instrumental to universal energy access in sub-Saharan Africa. We are supporting innovations in product design and battery technologies to ensure that the sector delivers access that is clean, safe, and sustainable for all communities”

- David Stonehill, Power Africa

This round of the Solar E-Waste Challenge launched in October 2019, seeking to promote sustainable e-waste management by supporting innovations that improve product design and test new battery technologies for solar products. The aim of the Challenge is to encourage companies to consider and prioritize sustainability in the research and development (R&D) phase of solar product manufacturing. Products that are designed to be easily repaired, reused, and refurbished will reduce the impact of solar e-waste before they even reach the market.

Competition winners will receive between $150,000-$300,000 in grant funding to implement projects over a 18-month period subject to contract agreement and due diligence.

The Challenge round closed in December 2019 with 59 applications to implement R&D projects in 49 countries across the continent. Nominations were received from NGOs, SMEs and significantly more product manufacturers than the first round. The Solar E-Waste Challenge aims to catalyze broad and long-term action to address the mounting e-waste challenge in the region.

During the implementation period, the projects will collect data to answer key questions on product performance and quality, consumer and sector-wide impact, and potential for scalability. A series of case studies capturing lessons learned from each project will 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:

  1. Solaris OffGrid, Tanzania
  2. M-KOPA Labs, Kenya
  3. Lagazel, Benin and Burkina Faso
  4. Aceleron, Kenya and Rwanda
"This award gives us the opportunity to develop expertise in the recycling part of the value chain, in order to offer full local manufacturing, after-sales service and recycling services to off-grid energy players in West Africa. The refurbishment of used lithium battery cells into second life battery packs will provide a recycling solution to the sector, and contribute to reduce environmental impact of e-waste in Africa.”

-Claire Le Stur, Lagazel

Learn more about the awardees.

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The inaugural Global LEAP Solar E-Waste Challenge opened for applications in early 2019 and received 160 nominations to implement projects in 49 countries across Africa. The competition selected eight winning recycling and solar companies to pilot new approaches to e-waste collection and processing in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria and Zambia. Case studies on the first Challenge winners will be released in late 2020. Find out more about the first winners here.



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