Earlier this week, SVTC released our 2011 Solar Scorecard.
One of our goals with the Solar Scorecard is to allow residential and commercial consumers to see where manufacturers stand on issues related to the environment, sustainability and social justice issues.
Transparency is important as informed consumers make the smartest choices.
If you want to measure the financial success of a company, tools exist such as the New York Stock Exchange and general stock prices. However, what tools are there to measure a company’s commitment to the environment and protecting workers and our communities? For the solar PV industry, SVTC created the Scorecard.
Every company that responded to SVTC’s Solar Survey earned points for disclosure. Why? Because these companies are not afraid to put themselves under the microscope.
After being mailed the Survey, every company received both email and phone call reminders. Some companies have refused to participate in the Survey two years in a row.
What are these companies worried about?
We know many of these companies don’t have very clean environmental records. But what about a company with “green” in their name? Certainly, they must have a clean record, right?
For two years in a row, Evergreen Solar (once based in Massachusetts) has ignored our requests for their participation in our Survey.
The plant opened in July 2008 and by April 2009 they already had three spills of toxic materials that were reported. According to Green Stocks, “In October, the first spill occurred: 500 gallons of a toxic ’cocktail‘ that included hydrofluoric, nitric and sulfuric acids. In February, 100 gallons of sodium hydroxide was released. In March, 20 gallons of 20-30% hydrogen peroxide was released from the plant.”
According to the Boston Herald, in 2009 the company’s facility was not even at full capacity and was generating more than a million pounds of hazardous waste – on the way to becoming one of Massachusetts’s top producers.
During that same year, numerous residents complained of noise pollution from the Evergreen facility.
In January of 2011, the New York Times reported that after receiving $43 million in assistance from the government of Massachusetts Evergreen would close its doors, lay off 800 employees and ship all of the work to China.
Maybe Evergreen didn’t respond to our Solar Survey because they knew that a move to China wouldn’t speak well to those who need jobs in the U.S. And we all want our economy to rebound.
So what say you Suniva and Germany’s SCHOTT? These are two companies that contacted us to say they would not respond to our Survey.
What are you hiding?
Maybe Ariel Schwartz from Fast Company put it the best, “Only 46% of the solar market responded to the SVTC’s scorecard request, so what are all the other companies doing? If they didn’t respond, they probably don’t want us to know.”