The Solar Energy Industries Association has released a Solar Industry Commitment to Environmental and Social Responsibility, a document that aims to promote environmental and social responsibility standards throughout the sector.
The voluntary code of practice covers labor, ethics, health and safety, environmental responsibility, human rights, and management systems throughout the solar industry and its supply chain, SEIA says.
The commitment says that participants should consider and work to reduce the amount of raw materials used in the entire product life-cycle. Scrap materials should be reused or recycled wherever possible, the document says.
Environmental impacts of the manufacturing processes, product technology and key business operations should be identified and controlled, the commitment says. Water use, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions should be tracked and energy efficiency should be targeted throughout a business’s operations, the document says.
The commitment also calls for appropriate environmental permitting, handling of hazardous substances and waste, and monitoring of air emissions.
Companies wishing to sign up to the commitment can do so here.
Last week, Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the SEIA, said tariffs leveled on Chinese-made solar panels would have little material impact on the U.S. solar market. The tariffs are designed to redress an imbalance between Chinese solar manufacturers and their U.S. competitors, who claim that Chinese government subsidies are creating an unlevel playing field in the lucrative U.S. solar market. The tariffs of between 2.9 percent and 4.7 percent were somewhat lower than had been expected.