Promoting Sustainable Supply Chains

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Enhancing Sustainability in Solar Module Production: EPEAT for Solar’s Impact

Leading manufacturers in the solar industry are embracing a fresh certification designed to encourage the production of low-carbon solar energy. Notable participants in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment (EPEAT) program, established by the Global Electronics Council, include Qcells, Solarge, and First Solar. First Solar, in particular, gained distinction as the pioneer solar manufacturer to have its product featured during the launch of the EPEAT Photovoltaic Modules and Inverters category in 2020. Presently, First Solar is actively working towards demonstrating compliance with the newly introduced EPEAT carbon footprint criteria.

The primary objective of the EPEAT for Solar ecolabel is to showcase the manufacturers’ dedication to sustainable production practices, including both environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes and low-carbon supply chains. Looking ahead, the Ultra Low-Carbon Solar Alliance has announced that several of its members plan to pursue the solar ecolabel in the coming year. This includes notable polysilicon producers such as Hemlock Semiconductor, REC Silicon, and Wacker Chemie, as well as silicon wafer producers Norsun and Norwegian Crystals. Additionally, frame and glass producers Origami Solar and CPS Glass have expressed their intention to obtain the EPEAT for Solar certification.

In the latter half of 2023, PV panels conforming to EPEAT standards are anticipated to be featured in the EPEAT for Solar registry. Furthermore, an ongoing process will involve the continual addition of additional panels to the registry in the future.

The comprehensive and stringent life-cycle-based criteria of EPEAT for Solar, coupled with the necessity for third-party verification, provide buyers with the assurance that they can effectively demonstrate their commitment to sustainable supply chains and the reduction of Scope 3 emissions.

According to the International Energy Agency, a significant majority of the world’s solar modules are manufactured in Southeast Asia and China. Notably, the carbon intensity associated with the production of crystalline silicon modules in these regions is more than double that of modules manufactured in the United States.

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