The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) released its Fifth Annual 2014 Solar Scorecard, which ranks manufacturers of solar PV modules according to a range of environmental, sustainability and social justice factors. Seven PV companies responded in detail to this fifth annual SVTC survey, with the remainder of the information gathered from publicly available documentation. Trina Solar ranked No. 1 with a score of 92 out of a maximum of 100 among all 29 competitors.
The solar PV industry has seen rapid growth in recent years, particularly in the contract manufacturing segment, which now accounts for more than 25% of the global PV supply. The seven companies that responded to the 2014 Solar Scorecard today represent just 25.2% of the total PV module market share.
“Although the solar market has expanded six-fold since 2009, the market share of companies committed to reporting environmental practices has declined,” said Sheila Davis, executive director of SVTC. “The rise of ‘white box’ solar manufacturers has the potential to drive a race to the bottom. SVTC is concerned that companies who offer cheap products and hide their environmental footprint may be rewarded by the market.”
SVTC recognized two companies — SolarWorld and Yingli — for responding to the Solar Scorecard survey every year since 2010, demonstrating a consistent commitment to environmental stewardship despite significant disruptions in the solar industry. In addition to this recognition, SolarWorld has achieved the highest overall score across all five Solar Scorecards to date.
Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Americas Inc., noted: “We are committed not only to renewable energy, but also to transparency and responsible production, including independent verifications. We encourage all of our competitors in this industry to embrace that same commitment.”
This year, Solar Scorecard ranks global PV module manufacturers on twelve factors including extended producer responsibility (EPR), emissions transparency, chemical reduction plan, workers' rights, health, safety, supply chains, conflict materials, module toxicity, high value recycling, prison labor, biodiversity, water, energy and GHGs. Judging was based on 12 different criteria of which Trina Solar ranked first among all participants for 11 of the criteria and scored full marks for eight.
"We are delighted to be the top ranked company once again in this year's SVTC ranking," said Mr. Jifan Gao, Chairman and CEO of Trina Solar. "Solar energy brings clean energy to mankind yet the PV industry still faces critical environmental challenges particularly as demand grows. We remain deeply committed to achieving our environmental and social targets and to shaping a truly clean and green solar industry."
The PV manufacturers included in the 2014 Solar Scorecard comprise approximately 75% of the industry. According to SVTC's published statement, over the next two years, SVTC will develop the Scorecard into an environmental leadership standard endorsed by multiple stakeholder groups.