REC Group received Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) from EPD Norway for the REC Alpha Pure, TwinPeak 4 and N-Peak 2 solar panels. All three products were released just last year. The EPDs provide independently verified confirmation of REC’s continued commitment with every product generation to reducing the environmental impact of solar panels.
EPD: what is it? | The international EPD system is a global program for environmental declarations. Each declaration summarizes the environmental impact of all components of a finished product, production process and transport. Being independently verified, EPDs provide stakeholders in the solar industry with a valuable source of data for objective comparisons. They also serve as confirmation of the low carbon footprint (LCF) of solar panels.
The REC TwinPeak 4 gained its EPD on the basis of the solar-grade silicon manufactured by REC in Norway using REC’s unique kerf upcycling. With this technology, REC can convert kerf, waste material of the wafer production process, to high-quality solar grade silicon, drastically reducing carbon emissions by up to 96% compared to the standard Siemens process. Silicon production is the most energy-intensive step in manufacturing solar panels, so improvements make a major difference.
EPDs take into account a specific entire supply chain for a product. In the case of REC Alpha Pure, the EPD is based on polysilicon coming from Germany, cells and modules being manufactured in Singapore and installation done in Europe for example.
Another aspect, why the REC Alpha Pure is more sustainable, is because of the eliminated lead content, making the solar panel also RoHS compliant. The issue: even today, a solar panel typically contains a small amount of lead in relation to its total weight.
On a large scale, the impact by the solar industry can be significant, particularly when solar panels are recycled at the end of their service life.
“Today’s customers understand that while going solar is doing good, how much good can vary greatly,” says Jan Enno Bicker, CEO at REC Group. “As such, REC constantly renews its product portfolio in order to increase power while being cautious about the consumed resources. All three products that have gained EPDs were launched last year, testifying to the success of REC’s continuing efforts to make its own production and the entire solar industry more sustainable, and to rise to the challenge of LCF design and production.”
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