Waste & Air Pollutants

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SolarWorld AG
Martin-Luther-King-Str. 24
53175 Bonn


Waste and air pollutants

Reduce pollution

With its sustainable group strategy, SolarWorld pays particular attention to its production of waste and pollutants. With the aid of the latest technology, and thanks to ongoing production process optimization, waste volume is not only continuously reduced, but the environmental pollution caused as a result is also kept as low as possible. It is our aim to reduce the share of hazardous waste on an ongoing basis.

Measures to date:

  • Silicon reprocessing
  • Recycle-At-Work
  • Reusable packaging in production
  • Waste guide Freiberg (March edition Sunday, “Waste guide provides orientation - Katja Weiße created the guide for labeling and disposal” - more information can be found here)
  • Hazardous substance management implemented in full: Approval processes, all hazardous substances with medium, high and very high hazard levels are subject to a substitution test
  • Start of the introduction of the water soluble flux in module production
  • Reduction of the use of slurry in wafering
  • Reduction of the use of chemicals in cell production by optimizing the production process

Goals for 2020:

  • Reduction of waste volume (in t/MWp) by 10% [2012: 26.9 t/MWp]

With a SolarWorld system, you are making an active contribution to protecting the environment

support a company which makes a conscious use of resources and reduces waste and pollutant emissions

How much waste is generated at SolarWorld?

The absolute amount of waste increased in 2015 due to higher production volumes. Per unit produced (Wp), the specific volume of waste decreased to 27.3 (2014: 28.8) t/MWp compared with the previous year, but was still above the 2012 value.

How is the recycling of used modules organized?

You can find information on our recycling of used modules here.

How does SolarWorld influence air quality?

SolarWorld manufactures in Europe and in the United States, where high environmental standards and laws apply. These are varying at different sites. For example, our German production sites are subject to the German Federal Immission Control Act (Bundes-Immissionsschutz-Gesetz). This legislation and accompanying ordinances define detailed requirements for the approval, construction and operation of facilities which are particularly likely to have detrimental environmental impacts on the air, water and soil. Comparable emissions occur with regard to substances at our production sites in the form of exhaust air. A comprehensive assessment of all relevant emissions from the process exhaust air was carried out at the time of commissioning of our production facilities. A voluntary examination program was prepared on the basis of this assessment, in order to carry out single or repeat measurements at various sources of emissions during ongoing production. Wafer production facilities, for example, are required by law to measure their emissions on a regular basis. Since all facilities are built to the latest standards and operate in accordance with all legal requirements in the respective countries, there have been no relevant fluctuations in emitted substances and quantities over the period to date. Depending on the materials and hazardous substances present in process exhaust air, the respective types of exhaust air are pre-treated using burner-scrubber and crossflow scrubber systems. Furthermore, in addition to various collecting devices, flow monitors are fitted in the untreated air pipes. Any failure or fault in the exhaust air scrubbers is detected and results in an emergency shutdown of the facility. Hence, it is not possible for untreated exhaust air to be released. Additionally, there are forms of process exhaust air that contain no relevant hazardous substances when used as intended, for example air from safety extraction systems that has no effect on the environment and is given off untreated.

The table for further emissions primarily includes key performance indicators from the United States. Only the indicator for nitrogen oxides also includes the production sites in Freiberg and Arnstadt. The emissions are calculated using calculation aids for air emissions. The emissions occur primarily in wafer production. In 2015, these rose as a result of the increased production quantities. The other emissions are in the form of carbon monoxide. SolarWorld does not use or emit any nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).