How can the solar power sector become more circular?
Today, by default, a supplier sells new Photo-Voltaic (PV) panels and batteries to a user. The user then manages the solar power generation and storage. When their use life at the site reaches the end, the PVs/batteries enter the waste stream and get recycled or disposed.
In the product-service system model envisioned by CIRCUSOL, a supplier provides solar power generation and storage to a user as a service. In this way, the PV and batteries are installed at the user’s site, but the supplier remains the owner and is responsible for their optimal functioning. When their use life at the site reaches the end, the supplier takes them back and decides whether they can get a second life and be installed somewhere else, or should be sent for recycling.
How would this be better?
It's good for the environment, the user and the supplier.
For the environment, by enabling longer product life and encouraging market adoption of second-life products;
For the user, by reducing initial investment and ensuring optimal use conditions while minimizing manteinance hassles;
For the supplier, by providing recurring revenue and long-term relationship with the customers.
Circusol is a project that has received funds from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.