The Solar Scorecard is based on SVTC’s annual survey of photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturers, as well as on prior survey responses, interviews, news stories, and publicly available data. The goal of the Scorecard is to enhance transparency around environmental health, safety, and sustainability issues for communities, workers, and the environment. This year we reworked the Solar Scorecard rubric to better reflect a subset of criteria selected by a stakeholder-led sustainability leadership standard for photovoltaic modules that will be completed later in 2017. Next year the scorecard will more closely mirror the metrics in that standard.
SVTC began scoring photovoltaic manufacturers on sustainability, environmental health and safety issues in 2009 when only 6.4 GW of PV modules were produced. In 2017, the industry is much larger, producing over 100 GW of PV modules, more than a dozen times more than in 20091. Four of the top five PV manufacturers responded to the 2016–17 survey, with six manufacturers responding overall. Much of the information scored could be found on company websites, annual reports, or sustainability reports.
The results compiled from SVTC's 2016–17 survey and research include:
- PV manufacturers continue to set aside funds for recycling the European Union, but are not setting aside money for EPR in the USA. Two companies (SunPower and First Solar) offer recycling solutions to all of their global customers.
- Nine PV manufacturers do extensive chemical emissions disclosure and reporting on their website, up from four in 2015.
- Thirteen companies (the same as in 2014, and 3 less than in 2015) report one or more categories of environmental emissions (hazardous waste, heavy metals, air pollution, ozone depleting substances, landfill disposal).
- Two companies are offering PV modules with cables that are halogen-free.
- Zero companies can provide documentation to verify that their supply chains do not contain conflict minerals based on the due diligence guidelines set by the OECD. All companies selling to the USA are engaged in or have started the process of due diligence to determine if conflict minerals are present in their supply chains.