Morning Brief: 5 GW of solar coming to Africa, the pressing need for panel recycling


5 GW of solar may be coming to Botswana and Namibia, as the two countries are working with a U.S. government initiative, Power Africa, to help structure the deal. The two countries have massive solar potential, being flat geographically and having hot, dry climates, but have had little large-scale solar development to speak of so far. In addition, the projects would greatly diversify the two countries’ energy mixes, which currently include a considerable amount of power imported from South Africa. Power Africa, along with governments, the private sector and donors has helped bring more than 11,000 megawatts of generation capacity to financial close since 2013, according to its website. Source: Bloomberg

The first project to use Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing has closed in Pennsylvania, a 212-kilowatt solar system on a building in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia.  Capers Company LLC is borrowing $519,020 in C-PACE financing from Greenworks Lending to install the project. C-PACE financing allows commercial property owners to borrow money for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation projects. Repayments are made via a special assessment similar to a property tax assessment. Source: Philadelphia Energy Authority 

Solar panels are starting to die. What will we do with the megatons of toxic trash? “If we don’t mandate recycling, many of the modules will go to landfill,” said Arizona State University solar researcher Meng Tao, who recently authored a review paper on recycling silicon solar panels, which comprise 95 percent of the solar market. Most solar manufacturers claim their panels will last for about 25 years, and a fairly small number of solar panels are being decommissioned today. PV CYCLE, a nonprofit dedicated to solar panel takeback and recycling, collects several thousand tons of solar e-waste across the European Union each year. Check out this Grist piece for a compelling feature on the need for solar recycling. Source: Grist

Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana has signed two executive orders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance coastal resilience. Executive Order JBE 2020-18 formally establishes Louisiana’s first-ever Climate Initiatives Task Force, a group of stakeholders who will study and make recommendations to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Executive Order JBE 2020-19 provides steps to improve state government by coordinating adaptation efforts more comprehensively across state agencies under the leadership of the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer. Emissions reduction goals set for the Task Force include cuts of net greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% by 2025, 40-50% by 2030, and 100% by 2050. Source: Louisiana Office of the Governor

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