pv magazine UP initiative

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Why step UP?

pv magazine launched the UP campaign in May 2019 to effect truly sustainable action in both the solar and storage industries. This will be achieved by positively exploring how we can, on an individual and collective level, make rational, manageable, and quantifiable changes in the most transparent manner. At the same time, care will be taken to avoid making unrealistic demands, or add fuel to the anti- solar and -storage fires.

We will use our various platforms – print and digital articles, webinars and roundtables, for example – to identify and discuss sustainability issues; to callout greenwashing, and to encourage a step-change by creating quantifiable, third party verifiable criteria companies can adhere to, to prove their sustainability credentials; and to effect concrete action, in the form of activism/advocacy.

Quarterly themes

Each quarter, we will shine a spotlight on a pertinent sustainability topic. Our first quarterly theme, starting this October 2019 will focus on lead in solar.  Should lead still be used in solar? Are there realistic alternatives?

1. Q4 2019: Lead-free PV?

The global deployment of so much PV is an impressive feat and one that is critical for the renewable energy transition. However, it is essential to consider both future waste volumes, and the materials employed. Can all modules be safely retrieved in all geographies (many of which do not yet have mandatory waste disposal regulations for solar) and, in the best-case scenario, continually reused? Even if the small amounts of such hazardous elements as lead are “harmless” when considered on an individual level, is this still the case when much larger quantities come into play? Are there non-toxic alternatives? These are the questions pv magazine is seeking to answer throughout Q4.

To kick off the discussion, the October edition of pv magazine will go back over the history of the debate surrounding lead in modules. Over the coming three months, we will also be looking at the use of lead in perovskites and entering the debate on whether lead should be banned or not.

SMA, our initiative partner, inverters, has also lent its weight to the sustainability discussion. Credibility comes not just from offering products that generate clean electricity, but also from the way in which those products are manufactured, says CEO Jürgen Reinert. Here, transparency and sustainability are key. That’s why one of the world’s largest PV inverter producers has partnered with pv magazine. In a Q&A, Reinert lays out what SMA is doing to step UP its green game.

Contact up@pv-magazine.com to join the conversation!