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October 30, 2023
Hammersmith & Fulham has donated 730 solar panels in support of the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
The donation is part of a pioneering programme to repurpose operational “second-hand” solar panels that would otherwise go to waste.
A joint effort between photovoltaic specialist ReSolar and the UK Friends of Ukraine, a second batch was sent to volunteer-led project Repair Together following quality tests at the University of Exeter.
Thanks to the new lease of life, the panels will now help power public buildings in Ivanvika – a town that was badly damaged in the initial attack of the full-scale invasion in 2022.
One batch of panels was given to an Intensive Care Hospital in Kremenchuk. The area recently became the target of a Russian missile attack, which killed one and left 55 people – including six children – injured.
The panels now provide a reliable source of clean energy to local healthcare services, supporting those affected by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“I would like to extend our deepest gratitude for the donation of solar panels,” said Yarema Kovaliv, the ambassador of Ukraine to Canada.
“These panels are not just equipment but a beacon of hope and support for the Ukrainians in these trying times.”
“We were looking for a solution to maximise the lifespan of these solar panels, and are thankful to have found a likeminded partner in ReSolar,” said Cllr Harcourt, H&F Cabinet Member for Climate Change & Ecology.
“By rehoming these panels to a good cause, we avoided unnecessary waste while supporting our Ukrainian allies with much-needed access to enabling others to make the switch to renewable energy sources.”
The project is set to help cut an estimated 63 tonnes of carbon emissions – about the same as driving from London to Edinburgh and back every weekend for five years.
Charity UK Friends of Ukraine leave for Ivanika
The current lack of specialist recycling infrastructure in the UK means that growing solar panel waste mountains are threatening to become a looming global environmental disaster.
“With the collapsing price and high efficiency of modern solar panels, many companies are starting to replace perfectly operating units with brand new ones,” explained Matt Burnell, managing director at ReSolar.
“This leaves thousands of solar panels dumped or inefficiently recycled, accelerating climate change instead of slowing it.”
By extending the operational lifespan of the panels, ReSolar and H&F are paving the way for a nationally significant second-hand market in solar panels.
“We have set aside a budget for reverse logistics so that these panels, when they eventually come to the end of their life, can be transported back to central Europe to be properly recycled,” said Matt. “We will also offset the carbon emissions associated with export and transportation to Ukraine.”
He added: “I hope that extending the lifespan of these panels will continue to produce renewable electricity that will benefit communities both in the UK and Ukraine.”
All money raised from the appeal will go towards supporting Ukrainian refugees and local residents affected by the crisis.
If you would like to provide support to those still in Ukraine, you can also donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s humanitarian appeal.
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