Industry leaders to speak out against PV waste free-riders

Low compliance rate to jeopardize customers’ trust in PV products

Brussels, September 3rd, 2015 – Today Trina Solar, SunPower, Solar Frontier, JinkoSolar, Conergy, aleo solar and the industry’s led Producer compliance and waste management scheme PV CYCLE have expressed their concern about companies’ negligence to comply with legal requirements of EU-wide WEEE legislations.

The group – which is made up of leading PV companies and the world’s first take back and recycling scheme for all PV technologies – stated that today’s WEEE compliance efforts do not conform to the high commitment to sustainable lifecycle management that motivated the industry to operate its own voluntary take-back and recycling scheme from 2007 to 2012.

While WEEE compliance entails administrative as well as financial burdens, it also assures end-users and customers of the quality of their products. A high non-compliance rate would jeopardize customer trust in the PV industry and would threaten the marketability of those companies seeking to be compliant.

“Free-riders are a threat to the PV industry, especially in these difficult times, and a threat to our product’s promise: an all-green product”, said Axel Steuer, President of PV CYCLE. “Those who are compliant pay double the cost for PV waste management”.

Free-riders are companies who are not compliant with the Extended Producer Responsibility obligations of their EU-28 WEEE legislations. Some free-riders also misleadingly use the name and logo of a certified WEEE and waste management program, while in reality do not contribute to the financial responsibility imposed by the legislation.

“PV CYCLE has always stood for a fair and efficient WEEE and waste management approach”, said Jan Clyncke, Managing Director at PV CYCLE.  “Working towards consistency and fullness of compliance, ensuring that PV module waste does not become an issue in the future and creating a level playing field have certainly become a main focus in recent times.”

It is expected that approximately 40 % of the EU market are not compliant today. The reasons include negligence as well as misinformation. “Financial responsibility under WEEE has become a country-specific matter, irrelevant of past commitments or brands”, explained Pia Alina Lange, Head of Public Affairs at PV CYCLE.


aleo solar GmbH produces and markets monocrystalline premium solar modules, and is a systems provider to the global photovoltaic market. The company employs approximately 350 people in sales and at its in 2001 established plant in Prenzlau (Brandenburg, Germany). The company has been part of SAS Group (Sino American Silicon Inc.) since 2014, just as the cell producer Sunrise Global Solar Energy Co. Ltd. The cell maker based in Yilan, Taiwan develops, manufactures and markets high-efficiency solar cells worldwide.

Conergy is one of the world’s largest downstream solar companies, specializing in the design, finance, build and operation of high performance solar systems for homes, businesses and utility-scale power. Founded in 1998, the company pioneered the expansion of solar power internationally, and today combines innovative technology, industry-leading engineering with access to capital. Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, Conergy has a global sales network and established subsidiaries in 15 countries. The company is privately held and majority-owned by Miami-based asset management firm Kawa Capital Management, Inc.

JinkoSolar is a global leader in the solar PV industry with production operations in China and sales and marketing offices in China, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United States, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Japan and South Africa. JinkoSolar has built a vertically integrated solar product value chain, with an integrated annual capacity of approximately 2.0 GW each for silicon ingots, wafers and solar cells and approximately 2.1 GW for solar modules. JinkoSolar sells electricity in China and distributes its solar products to a diversified customer base in the global PV market.

Solar Frontier K.K., a 100% subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. (TYO: 5002) (“Solar Frontier”), has a mission to create the most economical, ecological solar energy solutions on Earth. Building on a legacy of work in solar energy since the 1970s, Solar Frontier today develops and manufactures CIS (denoting copper, indium, selenium) thin-film solar modules for customers in all sectors around the world. Solar Frontier’s gigawatt-scale production facilities in Miyazaki, Japan, integrate compelling economic and ecological advantages into every module: from lower energy requirements in manufacturing to the higher overall output (kWh) of CIS in real operating conditions. Solar Frontier is headquartered in Tokyo, with offices in Europe, the U.S.A., and the Middle East.

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on SunPower’s 30 years of experience and guaranteed performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia.

Trina Solar Limited (NYSE:TSL) is a global leader in photovoltaic modules, solutions and services. Founded in 1997 as a PV system integrator, Trina Solar today drives smart energy together with installers, distributors, utilities and developers worldwide. The company’s industry-shaping position is based on innovation excellence, superior product quality, vertically integrated capabilities and environmental stewardship.

Media contact

PV CYCLE Association Europe : or +32/2280 72 53