A developer of brand name mono- and polycrystalline silicon solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, Hong Kong’s Upsolar continues its efforts to ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’ when it comes to sustainability and ‘Triple Bottom Line’ business practices. The ‘fab-less’ solar PV design, engineering and marketing company in mid-January completed an initial Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) of its two best-selling PV modules, making it one of the first solar PV suppliers in China to carry out a comprehensive study of the environmental impact of these operations.
A multinational enterprise that’s doing business across Europe, as well as in Japan, the U.S. and China, Upsolar’s increasingly looking to its social media presence to help grow its business. On Feb. 8, Upsolar used its Facebook site to launch a public contest to create its 2012 advertising campaign.
Design Upsolar’s 2012 Advertising Campaign
Anyone with a passion for solar energy, design and marketing that’s interested in submitting an Upsolar advertising campaign proposal can enter by joining Upsolar’s Facebook community. Online voting will determine contest finalists in April, with the winning design and designer being chosen in a second round of voting in early May.
The contest’s grand prize winner will have the option of choosing between a VIP package to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, an internship with Upsolar at their Shanghai headquarters, or 3,000 euros (~$4,000).
“As a company committed to innovation in every aspect of our business, it makes sense to rethink the way we’re presenting ourselves and connecting with our audiences,” said Noemie Bourdin, Director of Branding and Marketing for Upsolar. “There are perhaps no better symbols of the progressive shift in our culture than renewable energy and social networking platforms; by combining the two, we can tap into creative minds from all walks of life to design a campaign that sparks conversation across the globe.”
Greening the Supply Chain: From Cradle to Grave
Upsolar’s been focusing on “greening” its supply chain, a complicated task given that it works closely with a variety of mainland Chinese partners in producing its brand name mono- and multi-crystalline silicon PV modules. Its efforts have gone so far as sponsoring RTCC’s COP-17 news reporting service and sending a small team to the UNFCCC COP-17 climate change convention in Durban in December.
Searching for cost-effective, profitable methods and tools it could adopt in-house and disseminate across its network of supply chain partners to reduce CO2 emissions, waste and pollutant emissions was one key aspect of Upsolar’s activities at COP-17 in Durban, Bourdin explained for TriplePundit from Durban in December.
The LCA for its UP-M185M and UP-M230P solar PV modules analyzed the environmental impact from the raw materials stage through the fabrication process, installation, operation and end-of-life procedures. The study was completed over 10 months with technical assistance from Bureau Veritas CODDE.
“Environmental studies often fail to consider the full spectrum of environmental impacts, which invariably fall beyond just carbon emissions. As an environmentally conscientious organization, Upsolar also considers a range of factors, including organic and inorganic gas emissions, acidification, and potential air and water toxicity,” explained CTO Stephane Dufrenne. “Just as we strive to optimize our production processes, we strive to optimize environmental performance so it most directly leads to sustainability gains.”
China produces more than 80 percent of the world’s silicon solar PV modules, the environmental impact of which is increasingly coming under scrutiny as China struggles with environmental ramifications of rapid industrialization.
“As a company manufacturing in China, we hold a responsibility to understand the impacts of our products from the cradle to the grave,” added Upsolar CEO Zhe Jiang. “We hope this multidimensional analysis will serve as a model for the global industry.”