Solar E-waste Management Innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa

EEP Africa was pleased to partner with CLASP to offer a webinar on solar e-waste management and market development in sub-Saharan Africa on 26 May 2020. Participants heard about industry trends reflected in EEP Africa’s recent call for proposals and learned about projects funded through the Global LEAP Awards Solar E-Waste Challenge, a program to support innovations in off-grid solar e-waste management. [Download the full presentation.]

The off-grid solar (OGS) market is growing rapidly. An estimated 180 million OGS products were sold globally in 2018. Based on expected product lifespan, an estimated 10,000 metric tonnes of e-waste will be produced this year. Industry leaders are exploring management solutions, such as repair and preventative maintenance, recycling capacity, and waste reduction in product design. But efforts to recapture and recycle OGS e-waste in Sub Saharan Africa remain nascent and particularly challenging. This makes investments in e-waste management a critical priority for the sector and region.

EEP Africa supports the reduction and mitigation of e-waste in the projects we fund. Our current portfolio includes initiatives to increase battery lifetime, set up exchange schemes for old equipment, and establish recycling facilities in under-served countries. EEP Africa performs a full environmental and social risk assessment on all projects before they receive funding and continues to monitor and strengthen mitigation measures throughout implementation.

Our 2020 funding call, which focused on clean energy for productive use and clean energy solutions in a circular economy, attracted over 350 applications. We received a high number of innovative business models proposing clean energy as a service to agro-processing and agricultural value chains, including scalable solar home systems, electric vehicles and waste-to-energy. The call also attracted some “game changing” pilot projects in battery revitalization.

The Solar E-Waste Challenge is currently funding 12 companies operating in thirteen countries in East, West and Southern Africa. The Grantees are developing innovative sustainable e-waste management solutions. The first round of funding supported solutions for take back, repair and recycling, while a second round focused on improved product design and battery technology.

Some of the key issues and grantee initiatives presented were:

  • Take-back and collection: raising consumer awareness; incentivisation schemes to motivate customers to give up end of life (EOI) products; and the role of third-party services and the informal sector.
  • Recycling: regulation and the uneven spread of e-waste legislation; the economic imbalance in costs and volume; and low capacity due to the absence of controlled facilities.
  • Battery technology: battery diversity; second battery life; informal sector engagement; and battery management systems (BMSs).


More information about all of these topics can be found in the webinar presentation. There are also links to recent CLASP publications on the topic and to the GOGLA E-Waste Toolkit.

Thank you to all our webinar speakers:

  • Fred Eklund, Portfolio Coordinator, EEP Africa
  • Monica Wambui, Clean Energy Access Associate, CLASP
  • Rebecca Rhodes, Project Manager, GOGLA
  • Declan Murray, Independent Solar E-waste Management Consultant
  • Hannah Blair, Communications Associate, CLASP
  • Tracy Dolan, Knowledge and Communications, EEP Africa


Thank you to all who joined the event! You can download a copy of the presentation here


EEP Africa is a multi-donor fund providing early stage financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models in 15 countries across Southern and East Africa. It is hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) with funding from Austria, Finland and NDF.

CLASP is an international appliance energy efficiency and market development specialist not-for-profit organization. The Global LEAP Awards are implemented through the Efficiency for Access Coalition and managed by CLASP.

Nordic Development Fund