By Arjun Kumar
供应链伦理涵盖了三个关键领域：经济，环境和社会。在太阳能行业中，这三个目前的情况很大。从经济上讲，我们可以引用中国使太阳能便宜。自2011年以来，中国投资了more than $50 billioninto new solar PV supply capacity, 10-times greater than all of Europe. Today, more than 80% of global PV manufacturing occurs in China. Chinese investments have supported continued innovation of various segments in the PV supply chain and have led to an 80% decrease in cost over the last decade — making solar the most affordable generation technology in many countries. Environmentally, it has helped us, globally, to come closer to decarbonization and rely less on fossil fuels that harm the planet’s ecosystem. Socially, the question is more complex. On one hand, reducing carbon dioxide emissions through solar impartially benefits us all and may mitigate some of the negative social inequities brought upon by climate change. On the other hand, solar manufacturing in China has been under scrutiny for repeated human rights violations, especially in Xinjiang.
As a young professional in the solar industry, this issue is of great concern to me. Like many others who choose to work in this industry, I do so because it is aligned with my passion and care for people and the environment. I do not want to be a bystander in the harm unintentionally perpetrated by the industry. Nor would I wish for our clean energy transition legacy to be tarnished by complicity and inaction. This piece offers an honest look at the social and technical aspects of this ethical dilemma as it relates to the U.S. solar supply chain and the Xinjiang region.
In 2017, the Chinese Communist Party introduced internment camps with the goal of deradicalization, re-education and repurposing the Muslim population in Xinjiang. Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other minorities have been detained in masses for expressing their religious faith, culture and tradition. It’s estimated thatat least 1 million Uyghurs目前被拘留在这些营地中，约占新疆整个Uyghur人口的8.3％。
Evidence from satellite imagery indicates that at least135个工厂与这些营地共同分期. Workers in these camps are required to “intern” in these factories, either unpaid or paid below the minimum wage. Even once released, some former detainees are required to work in factories where they were interned. Participation is not voluntary and is forced through threats of further imprisonment.
Forced labor is not limited to Xinjiang’s internment camps. Based on research by Helena Kennedy Centre’s In Broad Daylight’sreport, the Chinese government in 2020 declared that it had 2.6 million minority citizens placed in surplus labor transfer programs in Xinjiang and the rest of China. Uyghurs and minorities are often coerced into the labor transfer program by state officials. Common coercion tactics include offers to reduce detained family members time spent in internment camps and involuntary land transfers, where the government transfers the farmers’ land to government ownership for a small rental fee in order to free farmers from their property obligations. Surplus laborers in the solar industry are sent to be employed in jobs such as crushing raw quartz for mining companies, plant mechanics and as product inspectors in polysilicon manufacturing facilities.
少数民族被迫上班是足够糟糕的，但是考虑到光伏制造业的工作带有高安全性危害，情况更糟糕。从石英中提取硅通常等同于大量暴露于灰尘和细颗粒物中，可能导致肺炎，这是一种可能导致死亡的严重肺部疾病。肺炎造成的81.81% of reported occupational diseases (OD) in China（每年25,000-30,000案例），并且最多prevalent in Xinjiangand the western regions of China.
此外，多硅生产公司可能容易出现事故。2020年7月，small fires and explosions occurred in two polysilicon factories located in Xinjiang.加工多硅烷涉及高热量和使用有毒化学物质的使用，因此需要熟练和训练有素的劳动力。These fires and explosions both occurred during maintenance workand have been attributed to the use of untrained labor.
Ending American dependency on solar imports from Xinjiang will not be easy as the region alone accounts for 40% of global polysilicon manufacturing. Polysilicon is a major ingredient in PV technology for it makes up 45% of thematerial costof a solar module. In general, modules alone account for 30% of the total cost of a project. China has continued to incentivize growth in Xinjiang by providing subsidies and state incentives such as corporate income and property tax exemptions, and subsidies for building new factories for module manufacturers. These incentives make it difficult for developers to keep clear of these modules as they enable greater margins and lower cost of electricity for the consumer.
Recent policy developments and challenges
This past July,the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA)came into effect, a policy that prohibits the importation of goods made from forced labor in Xinjiang. Since then,3 GW of modules have been held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP),which has contributed to significant solar installation delays and harmed America’s decarbonization goals. Nevertheless, the enactment of this law is a sound win for American values and morality – accentuated by it having near full bipartisan votes in both House and Senate.
UFLPA功亏一篑?它关注的禁令ning imports from Xinjiang. Thus, all regions and entities outside of Xinjiang are not properly processed for forced labor. This allows for loopholes, such as moving the forced labor camps to factories outside of Xinjiang. Based on a report by theAustralian Strategic Policy Institute, at least 80,000 Uyghurs were sent out of Xinjiang to work in factories around China between 2017 and 2019. If we truly want to oppose China’s oppression of the Uyghurs and other minorities, then we need to align ourselves with the values and ethics we espouse. And by we, I am referring to solar companies. Below are two main action areas where we can make a difference.
Supply chain audits and protocols
Solar companies need to mandate traceability checks and audit the module supply chain all the way to the quartz mining process. Implementing such an audit will be challenging because most solar module manufacturers are only vertically integrated from the ingot and cell making process upwards. Nevertheless, developers can insert language for supply chain audits on their supply contracts with their module manufacturers and require upstream suppliers to do the same with their polysilicon and raw material suppliers. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in collaboration with Clean Energy Associates and Senergy Technical Services have introduced an initialguideto help organizations get started on implementing product traceability protocols. The protocol was developed in response to industry demand. To quoteJohn SmirnowSeia的市场战略副总裁“太阳能客户期望其产品在道德上生产，并且该协议有助于确保不会使用强迫劳动制造进入美国的太阳能产品。”除了使用此协议外，公司还应将列出的实体列入UFLPA实体列表and filter from other sources such as those entities named in the In Broad Daylight report.
Support domestic manufacturing and vertical integration
In addition to enacting sustainability protocols, developers need to support domestic manufacturing through forward contracts. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has incentivized solar manufacturers such as Hanwha Q Cells and REC Silicon to invest in国内制造业of polysilicon. Developers that source domestically manufactured solar panels will be rewarded with theadditional 10% investment tax credit adder.Realistically, demand for domestically produced panels will be difficult to come by in the next few years. An alternative to this is supporting manufacturers like Canadian Solar, who are moving toward a more vertically integrated supply chain. Canadian Solar intends tobuild and operate the polysilicon factories themselves.即使工厂不在北美，垂直整合将为PV细胞制造提供更大的问责和控制。
We must recognize that American solar projects installed between 2018 to 2022 are likely tainted with forced labor. As an industry, we must raise our awareness, acknowledge our role and use our power to change for the better. I have focused this piece on the persecution of the Uyghur population with the hopes of inspiring action to ensure that we rid the solar supply chain of unethical practices. Instituting traceability protocols and redirecting funding toward domestic or more transparent manufacturers is necessary for preserving our integrity as we respond to climate change.
Arjun Kumar负责Wunder Capital的项必威体育app苹果手机版目开发和工程活动。此前，Arjun曾是弗吉尼亚州Sun Tribe必威体育app苹果手机版 Solar的开发工程师。Arjun毕业于Urbana - Champaign的伊利诺伊大学。在空闲时间，阿琼协助他的伴侣发展@Castle_Hill_Collective，社区正念的艺术空间，促进心理健康，联系和授权。
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Wunder Company.