First Solar, QCells and Solarge to qualify for 2023 sustainably produced modules label


The Ultra Low-Carbon Solar Alliance announced three domestic panel producers, First Solar, Hanwha Qcells and Solarge, have committed to building low-carbon, sustainably-made PV products under the alliance’s “EPEAT for Solar” label.

EPEAT is a globally recognized and independently validated environmental, social and governance (ESG) and low-carbon standard and eco-label for solar panels and inverters. Achieving the EPEAT for Solar designation demonstrates each company’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing as well as low-carbon supply chains and production technologies, according to the Ultra Low-Carbon Solar Alliance.

“Credible life cycle-based ecolabels like EPEAT make it easier for solar developers, investors, and end-users to identify environmentally leading products from socially responsible companies,” said Samantha Sloan, vice president of policy, sustainability and marketing at First Solar.

Project developers and corporate buyers are increasingly seeking more reliable supplies of solar panels made with a low-carbon manufacturing footprint, and free from connections to forced labor. Solar panels bearing the EPEAT label make it easier for customers to identify low-carbon solar products and partner with manufacturers committed to reducing their product’s climate footprint.

“EPEAT will show our customers that we take cutting climate pollution seriously when manufacturing our products,” said Kelly Weger, director of sustainability at Qcells. “This label will give them peace of mind knowing that when they partner with us, they’re supporting a more sustainable future.”

Other Ultra Low-Carbon Alliance members expected to begin the EPEAT registration process in 2024 include:

  • Polysilicon producers Hemlock Semiconductor (HSC), REC Silicon and Wacker Chemie
  • Silicon wafer producers Norsun and Norwegian Crystals
  • Low carbon frame and glass producers Origami Solar and CPS Glass

EPEAT-compliant PV panels are expected to be listed in the EPEAT for Solar registry in the second half of 2023, with additional panels being added over time. This registry will make it easy for buyers to find sustainably-manufactured, low-carbon products when planning projects and power purchase agreements (PPAs).

The rigorous standards of the EPEAT for solar lifecycle based criteria, combined with third-party verification requirements, assures buyers that they can demonstrate their commitment to sustainable supply chains and reduced scope 3 emissions.

Specifying solar panels bear the EPEAT label will send a strong signal to module producers, motivating them to produce sustainably-made, low-carbon products up and down the entire solar supply chain. As producing solar materials in a low-carbon grid is an important element of achieving EPEAT’s low carbon footprint requirements, this signal will also serve to expand PV manufacturing capacity in the U.S. and European markets.

The Ultra Low-Carbon Solar Alliance consists of more than 14 companies across the solar PV production chain committed to the production and deployment of low-emissions PV modules, wafers and other components.

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