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Journal Articles Insights into Regional Development Year : 2021

Circular solar industry supply chain through product technological design changes

Abstract

Climate change forces countries and organisations to transition towards renewable energies (RE). The transition requires a substantial amount of renewable energy installations, such as PV (photovoltaic) systems. EU solar cells (main PV panels component) manufacturing capacity in 2019 were only 0,2% compared to the world producers' capacity. It makes the European Union energy transition dependable on the foreign countries. In addition, the supply chain of the solar industry is facing issues of silicon solar panels having critical raw material (CRM) silver and toxic materials such as lead. The solar panels themselves are a complex combination of components making recovery of the materials a difficult process (Ha, 2020). These and further issues of the lack of circularity in the solar value chain endangers reliable access to solar energy in the long term. The goal of this research is to increase the circularity in the industry by designing technologically the product in a circular way. In order to achieve this goal, the authors blended information provided in the contemporary scientific literature with the shared expertise of producers and other stakeholders. Insights about the possible technological design changes of the solar panels, their issues, and their impact on the supply chain were gathered through an online workshop and EU Horizon 2020 * The authors acknowledge the valuable contribution of all project partners within CIRCUSOL (call: H2020-EU.3.5.4). This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 776680.
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hal-03583961 , version 1 (22-02-2022)

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Tadas Radavičius, Arvid van Der Heide, Wolfram Palitzsch, Tom Rommens, Julius Denafas, et al.. Circular solar industry supply chain through product technological design changes. Insights into Regional Development, 2021, 3 (3), pp.10 - 30. ⟨10.9770/ird.2021.3.3(1)⟩. ⟨hal-03583961⟩
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