Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition Issues Solar Company Scorecard

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), based in San Jose, Calif., has released its 2010 Solar Company Scorecard, which ranks manufacturers of solar photovoltaic modules according to a range of factors, including environmental health and safety, sustainability, workers' rights and social justice.

Companies self-reported on these areas. The results serve as a resource for institutional purchasers, investors and consumers to help promote best practices in the industry, SVTC says.

The 14 responding companies represented 24% of the 2008 module market share and 31% of the cumulative market share. The top three scores were earned by German manufacturers Calyxo, SolarWorld and Sovello, scoring 90, 88 and 73 respectively. The two U.S.-based respondents scored in the mid-range: First Solar received a score of 67, and Abound Solar received a 63.

The report also found that 57% of respondents would support mandatory takeback and recycling programs in the markets where they sell solar panels. In addition, 42.8% of companies are setting aside money to finance the collection and disposal of end-of-life panels. Half of the manufacturers said that they provide recycling services free of charge.

Furthermore, 50% of manufacturers have undertaken analysis of their supply chain to document the social and environmental impacts associated with different production phases. SVTC found that 36% of companies said that they conduct life-cycle analyses or risk assessments on new chemicals, including nanomaterials.

SVTC is calling for mandatory takeback and responsible recycling by solar companies. It is in the industry's best interest to ensure that pollutants from the panels do not enter the environment, the organization says, and only solar producers can ensure that this will happen by eliminating toxic chemicals from their products and by taking responsibility for their environmental and health impacts throughout the entire life cycle.

The complete scorecard is available at www.solarscorecard.com.

SOURCE: Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition

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