- Ozer Ergul, during TaiyangNews Solar & Sustainability Conference, called for the industry to ensure sustainability in the entire supply chain
- Supply security concerns during and post the pandemic ensured the industry look for innovative solutions to sail through, but these shouldn’t come at a cost to the environment or people
- He advocated for traceability and transparency in the industry to ensure responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of materials
Germany headquartered investment manager Aquila Capital’s Chief Procurement Officer Ozer Ergul believes that since solar is the most affordable, most scalable source of energy, it is an important solution for reversing climate change. Speaking during the recent TaiyangNews Solar & Sustainability Virtual Conference, he said the industry has a responsibility to make it so clean, so sustainable that it leads to a positive impact on the environment and people.
Reflecting on the key challenges faced by the global solar PV market, extending from concentration of raw materials in different regions, inflation, high cost of energy to geopolitical pressures, Ergul classified these as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA).
At the same time, there is new technology coming into the market such as larger modules which creates more uncertainty in terms of performance and reliability issues and bankability concerns, not to miss logistical challenges to implement these solutions within the supply chain. All this could lead to financial risks, he warned.
Supply security emerged as the major concern during the pandemic which pushed the industry to innovate for the most cost-effective methods, but these shouldn’t come at a cost to the earth and instead can be ensured in a sustainable way.
Calling sustainability an enabler rather than a challenge, Ergul argued that the main point of discussion should be how to make solar more sustainable, hence more attractive.
According to him, it is crucial for the PV industry to have traceability and transparency in its supply chains if we are to ensure responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of materials in times of increased focus on sustainable sourcing and production in the solar industry.
Sourcing from countries with deprioritized or circumvented environmental degradation guidelines can lead to disputes between stakeholders and distributors or even civil society thereby causing reputational damage.
It could also be detrimental for local and indigenous communities impacted by upstream and downstream activities.
His contention is that with the cross-cultural, cross-country, cross-industrial dynamics in the solar industry, there is a need to have more collaboration and transparency across the PV value and supply chain. This would ensure solar really makes a difference as it is meant to in a world battling climate change.
Ergul advocated the Solar Stewardship Initiative, a brainchild of SolarPower Europe (SPE) and Solar Energy UK, as a solar-specific value chain assurance program. It works collaboratively with manufacturers, developers, installers and purchasers across the global PV value chain with the aim being to foster responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of materials.