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First Solar and Qcells Score Panel Ecolabel Preferred in U.S. Federal Tenders

Solar panel manufacturers First Solar and Hanwha Qcells have registered several of their solar panel designs under a label of most sustainably produced panels, which the U.S. government prefers when sourcing solar equipment in tenders.   

Qcells’ residential and commercial solar panels achieved the Global Electronics Council's (GEC) stringent sustainability criteria, making them EPEAT registered products, Hanwha Q CELLS America Inc said on Tuesday.

The EPEAT standard for solar panels is among the low environmental-impact standards recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in guidance last year for maximizing procurement of sustainable products in federal tenders.

The U.S.-assembled residential and commercial panels join EPEAT registry, “now requiring the federal government to use solar made by leaders in the domestic industry,” Qcells said in its statement.

“The EPEAT ecolabel will make it easy for customers who value transparency and sustainability to find our products and work with us,” Kelly Weger, Senior Director of Sustainability at Qcells, said.

“Beyond commercial and residential customers, this now means our USA-assembled and sustainably made solar products will help the federal government achieve its climate goals,” Weger added.

Separately, another major solar panel producer, U.S. First Solar, announced today that its Series 6 Plus and Series 7 TR1 products are the world’s first photovoltaic (PV) solar modules to achieve the EPEAT Climate+ designation, establishing a new benchmark for the solar technology and manufacturing industry.

“As we add yet another differentiating factor that separates our technology from the competition, we are reminded that not all solar is created equal and that embodied carbon remains a challenge for the solar industry,” said Samantha Sloan, vice president of Policy, Sustainability, and Marketing, First Solar.

The Global Electronics Council (GEC) also issued a statement on Tuesday, saying it is activating its Ultra-Low Carbon Solar (ULCS) Criteria for the Solar category of the EPEAT electronics ecolabel, setting the industry's first embodied carbon threshold limits for use globally.

“GEC and our community created this differentiator to help purchasers, developers and investors quickly identify technology products designed and manufactured with climate change mitigation in mind,” said Bob Mitchell, GEC’s CEO.

“Adding solar manufacturers to this community is vital to drive our collective transition to a greener economy.”

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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