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, pv magazine will shine a spotlight on a pertinent sustainability topic.

Q2 2020: Green finance

In Q2 2020, we are turning our attention to the pertinent topic of green finance. The goal, among others, is to understand what the term “green finance” means; to understand how one can avoid greenwashing; and to investigate where future investment opportunities lie.

Between April and June, pv magazine will publish a number of feature articles and Op-eds covering such topics as:

  • The EU Green New Deal
  • Regional growth of green finance
  • The role of the carbon bubble
  • Green finance vs. green wash
  • Sukkuk as a driver for solar investment

Q1 2020: Raw material sourcing in batteries

In Q1 2020, we pushed our UP initiative towards sustainability concerns in storage. While batteries are indispensable for e-mobility and also for the energy transition, the technology’s thirst for raw materials has been an often-raised point of concern. Chile, as the world’s largest supplier of lithium, faces water scarcity as a result of mining activities. The Democratic Republic of Congo has not managed to eliminate child labor from its cobalt mines. And these are not the only concerns relating to mineral extraction for energy storage. pv magazine looked out the pressing sustainability issues impacting the storage industry and investigated solutions that manufacturers and consumers can deploy today.

Q4 2019: Lead-free PV?

Our first quarterly theme, which ran from October to December 2019, focused on lead in solar. Should lead still be used in solar? Are there realistic alternatives?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 sought to answer throughout Q4.