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



Minimize consumption

Water consumption and protecting water quality are particularly important to SolarWorld. We are aware of the scarcity of the resource and therefore use it efficiently and sustainably. We are constantly reducing our water consumption and also working continuously to limit and reduce the water pollution we cause.

To achieve this, SolarWorld recirculates the water used with the goal of steadily increasing the percentage of this recycled water.

By working together with the aid organization Water Missions International, we are installing solar power systems to operate water pumps, thus taking steps to ensure the availability of drinking water and increased quality of life in developing countries.

Previous measures

  • Solar powered water pumps in Peru, Haiti and Malawi
  • Freiberg process water treatment, approximately 48 m³/day rinse water is returned to the natural cycle
  • Inconspicuous resource in Hillsboro (Sunday October 2012, „Inconspicuous resource - How water is being used in Hillsboro “- more information can be found here)

Goals for 2020

  • Reduction of water consumption (in m³/MWp) by 20% [2012: 2.253 m³/MWp]
  • Reduction of waste water (in m³/MWp) by 10% [2012: 1.738 m³/MWp]

With a system from SolarWorld, you actively contribute to environmental protection

support a company which uses the precious resource water with extreme care

How high is water consumption at SolarWorld?

The Group's absolute water consumption continued to grow in 2016 as a result of a further increase in production. When this water consumption is applied to the amount of water, the specific water consumption is obtained. This amounted to 1,813 (2015: 1,637) m3 / MWp in 2016. This is due to the introduction of diamond wire saws using water instead of slurry for cooling.

Reductions in water consumption are mainly targeted at the production sites, as these are the largest consumers. As an example, the need for fresh water in Arnstadt has been optimized. In addition, during production projects, we pay attention to ensuring that own water processing systems are used in individual production steps. The aim is increased processing and re-use of water.

What water quality does SolarWorld guarantee?

The quality of our waste water complies with the strict specifications in place in Germany and the United States. In a first step waste water is precleaned at our production sites, and in the second step passed on to water treatment plants. At our production sites there are clear legal limits for waste water, and their observance is ensured by the cities.

Heavy metal concentration levels (mg/l)

Hillsboro Freiberg Arnstadt**
Arsenic 0.42 0.5 0.2
Cadmium 0.3 0.5 0.15
Chromium 19.6 1 0.5
Copper 4.4 1 0.5
Cyanide 1.5 1 0.2
Lead 0.7 1 0.5
Quicksilver 0.008 0.1 0.05
Nickel 2.0 1 0.5
Silver 0.43 Not specified 0.1
Zinc 6.5 5 4
Unpolar oil and fats 100 Not specified 20
Total toxic organic substances* Emissions going beyond the
above mentioned substances
can be limited or prohibited.
Not specified Not specified
pH-Value 6.0 - 11.0 6.5 - 10.0 6.5 - 9.0
*If US wide laws stipulate different concentration levels, the stricter standard will be effective.
** The thresholds for waste water are derived from the attachments of the waste water regulations (AbwV) and are guaranteed.

Chemical Oxygen Demand and Total Dissolved Solids

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) in mg/l Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in mg/l
Average Hillsboro Freiberg Arnstadt Hillsboro Freiberg Arnstadt
2009 767 1,143 -- 4,016 A threshold or monitoring value
for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
are not available in Freiberg.
It is not a usual sum parameter
for the wastewater monitoring
in Germany.
2010 433 961 -- 4,488
2011 627 1,320 -- 6,480
2012 575 1,221 -- 5,713
2013 868 620** 145 5,193
2014 610 620** 90 No longer required to test
*If US- wide laws provide different concentration levels, the strict standard will be effective.

**By substituting input materials in production in Freiberg, the COD value of waste water could be reduced.

Compliance with environmental regulations and licensing requirements is monitored during the internal environmental audits (compliance audits). For this, the environmental regulations are documented in an environmental law register and a permit register.These registers are updated regularly and made available on the company’s Intranet, thus enabling quick response and implementation of necessary corrective measures.

How does solar water treatment from Water Missions and SolarWorld work?

SolarWorld cooperates with Water Missions International (WMI) in the area of solar water treatment. Solar energy can be used to achieve an important leveraging effect. For example, only six solar modules are needed to operate a water treatment system that can provide clean drinking water to up to 5,000 people. SolarWorld supports WMI by offering one free module for every ten modules WMI purchases from SolarWorld. Through WMI, SolarWorld donated 4.5 kWp solar modules for water treatment to help those affected by flooding in the Amazon basin in Spring 2012. SolarWorld is also donating a 100 kWp system for WMI’s new headquarters at the port of Charleston, South Carolina. We also convinced our business partners to participate in the project. SMA is providing the inverters for the project at no charge, and our partner Mount View Solar in West Virginia is installing the system for free.