Closing Loops in Solar: Advancing Circular Economy with a Dedicated Digital Exchange Platform

Enhanced data exchange is vital for the transition to a circular solar industry, which requires seamless communication among diverse value chain participants. Digital platforms, known for facilitating information flow, emerge as essential tools in this context. However, tailored platforms that specifically promote circular economy principles within the solar industry are notably lacking in research.

To address this gap, our colleagues from the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BUAS) have embraced the Design Science Research approach to conceive and evaluate a digital platform prototype. This platform's core objective is to collect comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) data at various stages of the product life cycle, engaging a spectrum of solar value chain stakeholders. Two use cases drive data enrichment: (i) a collaborative schema, in partnership with a third-party certifier, to forge a digital product passport, and (ii) an inventive online marketplace for PV reuse, reinforced by standardised testing and repurposing mechanisms. Encouraging insights stemming from our pilot venture in Switzerland pave the way for potential adaptation and expansion throughout the broader European landscape.

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