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Innovation in tech to address three R's

Posted: 09 Mar 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electronics sustainability  LED  solid-state lighting  solar power 

Solar energy, and more specifically PV technology, presents great opportunities for the electronics industry as well. While many companies are focusing on developing solar panels that cost-effectively deliver energy through thin-film cells, opportunities exist for companies that can convert the power generated by PV technology into energy compatible with the local electricity distribution system. Interconnect manufactures that can deliver products designed for the unique challenges associated with solar energy—exposure to water, dust, heat and sunlight—are at a distinct advantage. Products such as connectors, cable assemblies and junction boxes will be critical to the success of renewable energy particularly as PV technology is expanding to residential and commercial solar energy applications through building integrated photovoltaics.

2013 Renewable Energy Connector Market by Region
Source: Bishop & Associates Inc.

Sustainable electronic apps lifecycle
Using our technological expertise to develop sustainable energy solutions is not enough. To be relevant in this new environment we need to lead by example and implement systematic changes, such as:

• Design with sustainability in mind. Not only will our products be more relevant in this new environment, but it will encourage suppliers to follow-suit and lead to wide-spread adoption of sustainable design.
• Don't be afraid to take risk—which is a hallmark of an innovative company. Reducing our global environmental impact will happen faster through game-changing solutions that drive sustainability for customers and throughout the supply chain.
• Trend towards smaller, modular solutions. The result will be smaller footprint, less e-waste and ultimately a cost savings for the customer.
• Make sustainability a long-term goal for ourselves and our customers by instituting a phased approach to implementation. Incremental changes will help ease the financial burden and give technology a chance to catch up.
• Develop a road map that incorporates sustainable elements along the way. Ask yourself: is my manufacturing plant operating efficiently; have I reduced/eliminated my use of hazardous materials; is my transportation fuel efficient; do I have a recycling strategy? Ultimately, it's not just about the end result but the entire product lifecycle.

For the international electronics industry, this represents not only a call to action, but a call to innovation. To survive and thrive in this environment will require a new approach to product design, development and delivery. Ultimately, this will prove to be not only be socially responsible, but economically rewarding.

- Mike Picini
Vice President, Solid-State Lighting
Molex Inc.

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