Industry watchdog and consumer advocacy group Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) released its annual Solar Scorecard on Tuesday in which it evaluates leading photovoltaic companies’ commitment to environmental protection, sustainability and social justice.
While Trina Solar, Yingli and SunPower boasted the top scores, SVTC warned that fewer companies responded to its survey this year and more than 25% of the top 40 solar companies failed to make almost any environmental information publically available on their website.
The California-based SVTC publishes the scorecard as "a resource for consumers, institutional purchasers, investors, installers, and anyone who wants to purchase PV modules from responsible product stewards."
The watchdog scored 40 companies this year, representing an estimated 82.8% of the PV industry market share. Overall, 49.5% of the 2013 PV industry (based on market share) has responded to at least one SVTC Solar Scorecard survey. Among those, ten companies representing 34.6% of the PV module market share responded to the survey, representing a decline from 51.1% in 2012 due largely to the bankruptcy of several former participants and declining market shares of other major producers.
In addition to company surveys, SVTC has augmented its research methodology for the Solar Scorecard to include prior survey responses and additional sources such as interviews, news stories and publicly available data and information.
The organization found that among the top 40 PV manufacturers, REC, SolarWorld and Yingli share with the public extensive chemical emissions disclosures and reporting. In addition, 12 manufacturers post annual hazardous chemical reduction targets on their websites or in sustainability reports.