For the 2013 Solar Scorecard, SVTC augmented its research and scoring, including prior survey responses and additional sources such as interviews, news stories, and publicly available data and information. As a result of the more difficult and comprehensive methods, some companies may have scored lower than they did in years past. Here are some highlights from the 2013 Scorecard:
- Twelve PV manufacturers post annual hazardous chemical reduction targets on their websites or in sustainability reports.
- Nine companies—Yingli, Trina, SunPower, Upsolar, Axitec, Mitsubishi, Renesola, LDK, and Solar Frontier—manufacture PV modules with amounts of cadmium or lead below the world’s most stringent regulatory thresholds set by the European Union. This means that the maximum concentration found in any homogenous material that makes up the PV modules made by these companies is less than 0.01% for cadmium and 0.10% or less for lead.
- Three PV manufacturers—REC, SolarWorld, and Yingli—do extensive chemical emissions disclosure and reporting. Fourteen companies report one or more categories of emissions (hazardous waste, heavy metals, air pollution, ozone depleting substances, and landfill disposal). The caveat is that some companies make everything from polysilicon to PV modules, and some companies only make PV modules. While a PV module manufacturer may appear to have lower emissions, this is because other companies do the more chemical-intensive aspects of production. For an apples-to-apples comparison, it is therefore important to ensure that a company’s supply chains also participate in chemical reporting so the emissions data is complete.
For the complete results, check out the SVTC’s Solar Scorecard at solarscorecard.com and examine the life cycle effects of photovoltaic products at svtc.org/solarlifecycle.