The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Lara Strupeit

Lars Strupeit

Project manager

Lara Strupeit

Circular Business Models for the Solar Power Industry - Guide for Policy Makers


  • Lars Strupeit
  • Naoko Tojo

Summary, in English

Solar power and electric vehicles (EV) are set to play a leading role in the achievement of the 2030 EU renewable targets and the commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050. Importantly, solar photovoltaics (PV), in combination with energy storage, also has the potential to significantly enhance European energy security, provide citizens and industry with competitive energy, and lead to the creation of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and end-of-life management. While the expected rapid growth of the solar power sector over the coming decade will bring along various resource and waste management challenges, following a circular economy strategy can ensure that these will be handled in a proactive and future-proof manner. Furthermore, a circular economy approach will offer the European solar industry new business opportunities in the design and manufacturing of circular-ready products, as well as in the reuse, refurbishment and recycling of older solar panels.

In response to the emerging resource and waste challenges of the solar power and battery sectors, the CIRCUSOL Innovation Action project (funded by the Horizon2020 programme of the European Commission) explored a number of innovative approaches and strategies towards circular business models in these two sectors. Specifically, the project focused on four circularity strategies: (1) reuse of discarded PV panels in second-life applications, and enabled through service-based business models; (2) repurposing of EVBs in second-life applications, specifically for stationary storage of solar power, and enabled through service-based business models; (3) ecodesign of PV panels; and (4) recycling of PV panels through innovative techniques.

This guide for policy makers is based on the lessons learned in the CIRCUSOL project from 2018-2022. It compiles key findings from the project and seeks to sketch out pathways and strategies on the way forward. As such, the report aims to contribute to a debate across policy makers, industry representatives, experts and other stakeholders about a potential future policy and governance framework that could catalyze the transition towards circular and resource-efficient solar power and EV battery sectors in Europe.


  • The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

Publishing year




Document type



CIRCUSOL consortium


  • Energy Systems