Circular economy among Swedish solar PV firms

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Miljövetenskaplig utbildning

Sammanfattning: While the development of solar power is an important step in replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, the fast increase in PV system deployment is projected to create large amounts of electronic waste in the next decades. Circular economy has been suggested as a key concept for changing society towards more resource efficient systems where products and materials retain their value along their whole life cycle. Service-based business models are suggested to play a role in this transition as they are now emerging in the solar sector. This study explored how service-based firms in Sweden practice circularity. This was conducted through a case study approach where 10 firms participated in qualitative interviews. The aim of the interviews was to explore what circular practices are used today, which barriers exist towards further development and how they perceive customer and business value emerging from these practices. The findings showed that the business models incentivise long-term strategies. Additionally, the economy of these firms is often linked directly to the performance of their PV system, creating incentives for high quality products, installation processes and maintenance routines. The market for circular strategies such as repair and reuse of solar panels is still underdeveloped, and while firms expressed an interest in these issues the barriers are too many. Barriers to further development spanned from regulatory obstacles generating insecurities towards exploring new markets and business models, to a lack of stakeholders for repair and remanufacturing.

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