Circular economy strategies as enablers for solar PV adoption in organizational market segments
While the uptake of solar energy has been a success in recent years, PV panels will cause an increasing waste problem in the coming decades. At the same time, it is important to further stimulate investments in solar energy solutions to reach climate ambitions and the Sustainable Development Goals. In this paper, we investigate when circular economy strategies and business models can enable solar energy investments while mitigating its waste problem. We use focus group data from Flanders (Belgium) to address the demand side of different market segments outside the dominant residential market of homeowners. These markets have in common that they are governed or mediated by organizations and contain business-to-business and business-to-government features. Our results show that organizational solar PV investments are mainly driven by lower energy costs, independence, and secured access to energy, and that the uptake of circular solar solutions mainly depends on a viable business case. In most cases, a lack of market development and organizational boundary conditions limit the enabling potential of circular solar options. Given the current energy crisis and challenges stemming from the electrification of mobility, we recommend policy makers to invest in regulatory frameworks that support the implementation of innovative data technologies that enable both improved circularity outcomes and lower operational expenditures.