The SoliTek Solid solar module has become the world’s first PV panel to secure silver Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program status.
“SoliTek has been producing solar panels in a sustainable way for years, using both solar and geothermal energy in the process, sourcing only trusted parts and materials and recycling majority of the waste generated during manufacturing,” said SoliTek CEO Julius Sakalauskas. “Technology and manufacturing innovation are [in the] SoliTek DNA. In 10 years of R&D and manufacturing, we have matured to offer the European market an exceptional product, a Cradle to Cradle Certified™ solar panel that meets the strictest demands of a circular economy.
“The introduction of Cradle to Cradle [certification] has been driven by the need of differentiating our product among competitors as we already worked according to the program requirements related to the design and manufacturing process. Another factor is the rapidly expanding demand for this type of premium solar panel in European markets, aligned with the Cradle to Cradle principles, like the Netherlands, possibly the most advanced solar market in the EU.
“We are looking forward [to] strengthening our competitive advantage in the European market as the competition from the Far East companies gets tighter every day. We have, already, a very strong commitment from our partners in Benelux countries to expand our cooperation to a new level of Cradle to Cradle Certified products.”
The Dutch market in particular is generating high demand for the highest quality solar panels, mainly because of strict fire safety and construction sector regulations. And those demanding requirements are spreading across Western Europe as the New Green Deal policy, introduced by the French and German leaders, is gaining momentum.
“SoliTek has long standing relationships with local, large scale urban developers as well as commercial real estate development partners that are in big need of Cradle to Cradle Certified construction materials, solar panels among them too,” said Sakalauskas. “Such a product will help them reach a new level of construction sustainability levels.”
According to the CEO, the European end-consumer is also becoming more demanding, with eco-friendliness, high fire safety standards and long product lifespan taken into account when choosing a solar panel.
The Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program assesses five quality categories for circular economy-compatible products:
Material health: Safe and healthy products for people and the environment, from production to reuse.
Material reuse: Eliminate the concept of waste through 100% retrieval and upcycling.
Renewable energy and carbon management. Manufactured with clean energy. Manufacturers generate a positive impact in energy supply, ecosystem balance and maintaining soil carbon levels and vegetation.
Water Stewardship. Protection of water as a precious resource. Exit water is cleaner than entry water.
Social Fairness. Respect human and natural systems. Responsible business from their operations to their ethics, regarding the supply chain and natural environment. Being a partner to all interest groups.
SoliTek head of R&D Julius Denafas said: “SoliTek R&D [has collaborated] on major European solar panel recycling projects and other circular economy initiatives for more than five years. We are working with major European solar technology research centers and we are leading the fifth Horizon 2020 project. So, the wealth of knowledge [at our disposal] helped us implementing Cradle to Cradle [certification] smoothly and efficiently.”
Sakalauskas added: “We believe that achieving maximum sustainability will bring us both economic benefits and maintain our reputation as a solar technology innovation leader in the EU.”
Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM is a certification mark licensed by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.