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Community of Public Buyers for Sustainable Solar PV

Improving quality, sustainability and financial returns on photovoltaic (PV) projects.

About the Community of Public Buyers for Sustainable Solar PV

 Solar PV will grow explosively in the coming years, since PV

  • is the cheapest option for clean electricity
  • can be deployed very fast, usually in 1-2 years
  • has ambitious targets – e.g., the EU Solar strategy aims to have more than 320 GW of Solar PV installed in the EU by 2025, and 600 GW by 2030

Reducing the environmental impact of PV by selecting more sustainable modules

Almost 100 million solar panels are installed in the EU per year, covering an area of 200-300 km and weighing 2 million tons. This number will likely triple in the next 3-5 years, making the environmental impact of PV even bigger. PV modules generate emission-free energy yet they still have a major environmental footprint. For instance production processes generate big amounts of GHG emissions.

Although PV modules seem a commodity with similar properties and prices, there are significant differences in terms of their the environmental impact:

• Many modules contain avoidable toxics such as PFAS, lead, antimony;

• Big (factor 4) difference in carbon footprint;

• Expected technical lifespan varies from 10-12 years to more than 30 years.

More sustainable PV modules are mass-produced and widely commercially available, however not many buyers are aware of the differences. Further there are best practices to improve ecology, biodiversity, social responsibility of projects.

Improving quality and financial outcomes of PV projects

The quality of a PV project (performance, degradation, lifetime, costs of repairs and maintenance) depends on the quality of key processes (e.g., design and engineering, component selection, construction, quality inspections).

Similarly, the financial performance of a project requires good market information and a good understanding of risk factors and risk mitigation.

Understanding EU legislation and other initiatives

The EU is working on many different proposals and initiatives around PV. It can be difficult for Public Buyers to keep track of all these initiatives and to understand their implications.

  • EcoDesign Regulation (a concept regulation is under consultation)
  • EnergyLabel (a concept regulation is under consultation)
  • EcoLabel (on hold )
  • Green Public Procurement (on hold)


The Community of Public Buyers for Sustainable Solar PV aims to help public buyers navigate the procurement of PV modules by providing: 

•    Insights into sustainability issues 

•    Market and product insights (what is available at which price) 

•    Templates for public tenders, including sustainability criteria 

•    Templates for contracts with EPCs / project developers  

•    Templates for PPA contracts for larger PV installations 

•    Best practices for Insurances and Quality Inspections 

•    Best practices / design requirements for Ecofriendly PV installations (on land or water)