Why Did Just 25% of Solar Power Corps Respond to Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition's Green Survey?

solar panel photo

photo: Jeremy Levine via flickr.

Out for nearly a week now, perhaps the most striking thing about the Silicon Valley Toxics Coaltion's solar power manufacturer scorecard is that only 14 companies bothered responding--something which GreenBiz reminds us is just about one quarter of the industry's module production. Among those not responding were several high profile companies: Solyndra, Nanosolar, Konarka, Suntech, and Sharp.Sheila Davis of SVTC told GreenBiz that she chalked up the lack of response to generally low response rates when a scorecard like this is new, adding that the response increases as the profile builds and companies want to use it to compete against one another.

Let's hope that's the case. As Davis said in SVTC's press release,

Solar power is key to helping solve the world's climate crisis, but the industry still faces serious issues that need to be addressed before it can be considered truly 'clean and green' and socially just.

In releasing the scorecard, SVTC is calling for mandatory takeback and responsible recycling programs to reduce the solar power industry's eco-footprint:

Only the solar producers can ensure that this will happen by eliminating toxic chemicals from their products and by taking responsibility for their environmental and health impacts throughout their entire lifecycle.

Read the entire Solar Scorecard 2010 here, but here are some of the highlights:

The top three scores were earned by German firms Calyxo (90), SolarWorld (88), and Sovello (73). In the mid range were the only two US-based companies to respond, First Solar (67) and Abound (63).

In total 57% of respondents would support mandatory takeback and recycling programs, 50% provide free recycling services for their products, 42.8% set aside money to finance collection and disposal of old panels, 50% have examined their supply chain to document social and environmental impacts of their products, 36% conduct lifecycle analyses or risk assessments on new chemicals they are using, including nanomaterials.

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More on Solar Power:
Solar Panel Toxic Manufacturing Byproducts, Product Disposal Needs Greater Oversight
Pollution Casts Shadow Over Chinese Solar
Breakthrough Nano Tech Will Boost Solar Power Efficiency

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