James Turing, founder of The Turing Trust, travelled to Kenya this summer to run a series of workshops on solar repair. This workshop brought together e-waste recyclers, solar manufacturers, electronic repair technicians and product designers with University of Edinburgh researchers to address the practical question of what happens to batteries, micro-electronic circuit boards, wires and plastics when solar powered systems break down.
Through presentations and group discussion the workshop aims to promote the idea of a ‘circular economy’ in the off-grid solar industry and disseminate ‘design for environment’ principals that support repair, reuse, and recycling.
In Kenya these questions are particularly timely. Proposals for new e-waste legislation promise to levy additional taxes on all solar products, aimed at covering the costs of waste collection and recycling. This workshop comes as a diverse range of people and organisations in Kenya work to establish a new model for off-grid solar repair and recycling, with a view to duplicating it across sub-Saharan Africa.