What’s Ahead for SVTC in 2015?

December 24th, 2014

By: Sheila Davis, Executive Director, SVTC

2014 was a very productive year for SVTC. We laid a solid foundation for two major initiatives that will keep us very busy in 2015 and beyond. I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on our latest projects—and also to encourage you to join us by making a generous year-end gift to SVTC.

First, we’ll be developing SVTC’s successful Solar Scorecard into a formal set of product standards for solar PV products. At the same time, we’ll move forward with the Solar Recycling Incubator, a model project to ensure the sustainability of off-grid solar products around the world.

SVTC’s Solar Scorecard—Developing an ANSI Standard for Solar PV Sustainability

Since the Solar Scorecard was launched five years ago, the solar PV industry has expanded six-fold, from just 6.4 GW of PV module production in 2009 to 38.7 GW in 2013. The Scorecard has had a significant impact on the industry and continues to drive positive change. Since 2010, 44.5% of the PV industry (based on 2013 market share) has participated in one or more SVTC Scorecard surveys. The Scorecard is a valuable resource for responsible consumers, and this year it was viewed more than 200 million times online.

Starting in 2015, SVTC will begin developing the Scorecard into a formal standard accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The standard will provide an important tool for U.S. and international regulatory agencies, and will also expand the Scorecard’s usefulness for large institutional purchasers.

Development of the ANSI standard is a rigorous two-year process that involves a wide range of stakeholders and will cost an estimated $250,000. Your support will be essential as we take the Scorecard to the next level!

Solar Recycling Incubator—Sustainable Solar for Africa

Launched in 2014, SVTC’s Solar Recycling Incubator is a model project for sustainable solar PV use in Africa. By improving solar product design, distribution, and recycling, the project will help protect the environment and also address the root causes of poverty in rural agriculture communities.

Over the next 35 years, 1.8 billion babies will be born in Africa, doubling the continent’s population. In some countries, such as Malawi, more than 90 percent of the people lack access to grid electricity, relying instead on polluting fuels such as coal, kerosene, and wood. Small solar devices can help address this need, but because of short product life spans, they also have the potential to become a new wave of toxic e-waste.

In 2014 SVTC developed strong partnerships with communities, repair technicians, and recyclers in Malawi, and also with international scholars and solar companies. Our goal is to develop safer and more recyclable PV products, accessible repair manuals, and a recycling database. At the same time, we are partnering with a farming community in Malawi to pilot the use of solar devices in sustainable agriculture.

SVTC’s 30 years of research, advocacy, and organizing have resulted in landmark policies for e-waste recycling, toxic clean up, toxic materials reduction, worker protection, and community right-to-know. Your generous contributions have made this work possible, and we encourage your continued support. Together, we can ensure safe and sustainable technology for the next 30 years and beyond.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year!

Sheila Davis, Executive Director, SVTC

P.S. Please visit www.svtc.org to learn more about SVTC’s programs.