Solar Industry

Research shows almost the entire global solar panel industry is at risk of being implicated in the forced labour of Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples:

  • 95% of solar panels rely on one primary material – solar-grade polysilicon.
  • The Uyghur Region accounts for approximately 45% of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon supply.
  • There are at least 90 Chinese and international companies whose supply chains are affected by Uyghur forced labour.
  • The Uyghur Region’s largest raw materials supplier to the solar industry is heavily implicated in the forced labour of Uyghurs.
  • All four of the Uyghur Region’s polysilicon manufacturers are implicated in Uyghur forced labour either through direct participation in forced labour schemes, and/or through their raw material sourcing.
  • The four largest solar panel suppliers in the world all source from at least one of these polysilicon manufacturers.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) went into effect in the United States on June 21, 2022. The UFLPA establishes a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly, or in part, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Uyghur Region), or produced by certain entities implicated in forced labour, is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and that such goods, wares, articles, and merchandise are not entitled to entry to the U.S. The presumption also applies to goods made in, or shipped through, China and other countries that include inputs made in the Uyghur Region. Companies must provide clear and convincing evidence that goods are not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor.

Silica-based products, including the raw materials used to make aluminum alloys, silicones, and polysilicon, have been identified as high-priority sectors for enforcement. Solar companies will have to demonstrate comprehensive due diligence and supply chain tracing, to comply with the law. This requirement extends throughout the entire supply chain, to include goods that may be shipped from elsewhere in China and to third countries for further processing.

The Coalition is demanding that companies apply a single global standard, consistent with the requirements of the UFLPA, across their entire supply chain for all retail markets. We also call on companies to refrain from re-exporting any goods denied entry to the U.S. under the auspices of the UFLPA and attempting to sell in other markets, which would create markets for goods tainted with forced labour. Specifically, we demand that companies comply fully with the UFLPA and:

  1. Commit to apply a single global standard, aligned with the legal requirements set forth in the UFLPA, to exclude Uyghur forced labour across its supply chains, and to not bifurcate their supply chains.
  2. Commit to not re-exporting goods detained under the auspices of the UFLPA to other markets.

In particular, the Coalition calls on the following companies, which independent research has credibly and publicly identified as operating or having business relationships in the Uyghur Region, or as at high risk of sourcing from the Uyghur Region,[1] and that have a presence or sell goods in the U.S., to commit to these demands:

  • NextEra Energy Inc.
  • Iberdrola S.A.
  • Enel SpA
  • Consolidated Edison Inc.
  • WEG S.A.
  • Marubeni Corporation
  • DECMIL Group
  • Acciona S.A.
  • Wacker Chemie AG
  • OCI Company Ltd
  • Sunnova Energy International Inc.
  • Canadian Solar Inc.
  • Toyo Engineering Corp.

The Coalition equally calls on all companies, including those without a US market, to apply a single global standard, in line with the Coalition’s Brand commitment to exit the Uyghur Region and prevent use of forced labour of Uyghur and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples / UFPLA, which includes a commitment to not bifurcate their supply chains. This demand is made in consideration of existing and forthcoming laws in other jurisdictions, particularly the EU and EU Member States, and to raise business standards globally.

For solar companies wishing to sign speak with the Coalition, please email: [email protected]

Key resources:

[1] Data sourced from the Jewish World Watch Uyghur Forced Labor Database (accessed July 2022) and the Reports page of the Coalition website.