What is Cradle to Cradle and why is SunPower Certified?

SunPower Corporation, an American solar brand—the only brand of solar panels Green Convergence installs—recently announced that “its E-Series and X-Series solar panels” made in France “are [now] Cradle to Cradle Certified Silver” (1). This is a great step forward for SunPower and an even greater announcement for potential solar panel buyers in Santa Clarita and beyond.

SunPower

To understand the benefits of buying solar from a C2C-Certified brand, you must first understand what C2C is, what is involved in certification, and how it sets SunPower apart.

What is Cradle to Cradle?

Cradle to Cradle (C2C) is a not-for-profit company that advocates for more ethical manufacturing practices by administering independent quality assessment tests to manufacturers all over the world. The company wants to revolutionize the way the world makes things. Using five different “quality categories”, C2C has managed to create a strong set of guidelines to ensure the quality of the products manufacturers make, protect the laborers who make the products and the environment around factories.

What are the five C2C quality categories?

  • Social fairness
  • Renewable energy and carbon management
  • Material reutilization
  • Material health
  • Water stewardship

Why is this important for potential solar consumers to know?

Due to their dedication to Cradle to Cradle’s strict standards, you know where your panels are coming from and that they have a minimal environmental impact. Unlike their Chinese counterparts provided by other installers, SunPower panels have always been made with the environment in mind. In fact, according to the New York Times, “the environmental cost of Chinese-made solar panels is about twice that of those made in Europe” (3).

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute president, Bridgett Luther, states that “environmental and social sustainability are at the core of SunPower’s business” and their “comprehensive, innovative approach is unmatched in the solar industry”. That is high praise and further evidence that any products you purchase from SunPower or a SunPower Dealer will be high quality and ethically-made.

So when buying your solar panels, don’t just consider which panels are the cheapest. Consider where the panels came from and who made them. Consider their efficiency and their warranty length. And, most importantly, consider who will be installing them. To truly save money by going solar, you should choose the panels that will last the longest and an installer that knows how to protect your roof.

Sources:

(1)http://cleantechnica.com/2015/06/24/sunpower-e-x-series-solar-panels-now-cradle-cradle-certified/

(2)http://www.c2ccertified.org/drive-change/built-environment

(3)http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/02/chinas-solar-panel-production-comes-at-a-dirty-cost/

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