The Solar supply chain traceability protocol is a set of guidelines designed to help solar companies meet their compliance obligations and, most importantly, provide customers with assurance that their solar products are free from unethical labor practices.
“Solar customers expect their products to be ethically manufactured, and this protocol helps ensure that solar products entering the United States are not manufactured using forced labor,” said John Smirnow, vice -President of SEIA’s market strategy. “Solar is one of the cleanest and most reliable technologies on our grid today, and we hope this tool will give confidence to buyers and US leaders at a time when solar energy increasingly supports our need to stimulate economic growth and tackle the climate crisis. “
As manufacturers begin to use the traceability protocol, it will be regularly reviewed and updated to improve its usability and efficiency. It is important to stress that the protocol by itself will not eliminate forced labor, companies should follow the steps outlined by the protocol.
In addition to the new traceability protocol, SEIA has finalized a complete update of its Solar engagement, which defines common labor, health and safety, environmental and ethical standards and expectations for solar companies. The update modernizes the standard and now covers a long list of topics, including advice on workplace safety and ethical work practices.
The standard now outlines best recycling and remanufacturing practices, information on tracking energy consumption, procedures companies can follow to avoid the use of conflict minerals in solar products, and additional tips that companies can follow to get their suppliers to meet all of these standards.
The Commitment is an important document that recognizes the need for companies to increasingly take responsibility for every aspect of the solar supply chain, from upstream materials to recycling and disposal.
SEIA also publishes a Solar buyer’s guide to traceability, which summarizes the protocol and offers key questions that customers, developers, financiers and other stakeholders should ask suppliers about products in the solar + storage value chain.
Several companies have expressed support for SEIA’s supply chain efforts
“This important tool provides a cohesive set of guidelines grounded in fairness, safety and sustainability to thousands of solar companies across the country,” said George Hershman, president of Swinerton Renewable Energy (SRE) and chairman of the SEIA board of directors. “As we at SRE take an inventory of our own practices, we can do so with the confidence that we are united with our industry partners in a common mission to maintain a secure and ethical solar supply chain. . “
“For the solar industry to live up to its promise to provide a cleaner and better source of energy, its products must be manufactured ethically,” said Suzanne Leta, Policy and Strategy Manager at SunPower . “We implore our peers to join us in the fight against forced labor and to build their supply chains with responsibility and traceability, right down to raw materials. With clear and helpful processes like those put in place by SEIA, this should be something every company in the solar industry can commit to. “
“We applaud SEIA’s efforts to ensure that the solar supply chain is sourced ethically by offering concrete steps companies can take to improve their visibility with their supply chain partners,” said Scott Wiater, President and CEO of Standard Solar. “At Standard Solar, we work hard to live up to the highest ethical standards every day and strongly support our national association’s efforts to disseminate these ethics throughout the industry.”
“EDF Renewables North America supports this incredibly important work of SEIA aimed at defining guidelines to enforce our sustainable development practices, in particular a traceability protocol to ensure that solar and storage components are produced in an ethical manner”, said Art Del Rio, Vice President, Solar & Storage Strategic Procurement at EDF Renouvelables. “We stand with the industry in taking the necessary steps to ensure that there is no room for corruption or forced labor in the supply chain. “