Obstacles and Progress for Solar Supply Chain Transparency in Europe
Following the USA footsteps, Europe is today discussing legislation to ensure a sustainable and transparent solar supply chain. This industry-driven requirement continues to motivate more and more collaboration, scaling up the impact across the industry. STS is acting as technical expert on traceability of the solar supply chain in the SolarPower Europe/Solar UK initiative to establish supply chain monitoring. STS has been also invited to present our work at the 2022 Intersolar Europe Conference.
Traceability of the solar supply chain is a challenge today. Besides lacking a traceability standard on industry level, for many manufacturers, verifiable upper tier visibility beyond wafers is still limited. Thanks to more than 35GW of supply chain audits, STS can provide a benchmark that developers use to select their supplier-partners.
We observe that the average score over all our audits is 67%, with supply chain security processes being slower to be implemented, and therefore lagging behind other important traceability processes. We also observe an encouraging improvement in the last few months across all of our supply chain audits, showing that the industry is maturing thanks to the common effort from buyers and suppliers.
We encourage more buyers and suppliers to join the development of solar supply chain sustainability. The more buyers demand the same requirements, the higher the acceptation rate; and the more suppliers participate, the more transparent the entire supply chain.
To foster industry collaboration, STS has set up the STS Sustainable Supply Chain Program. Globally dozens of module buyers, asset managers and lenders are currently members of the Program, representing 40+GW of annual buying power. Supply chain assessment in this Program includes supply chain mapping, traceability, security, and regulatory and statutory requirements, with 35+GW of production capacity assessed so far.