- Solar panel production may have links to slave labor, experts say.
- They also say that many low-quality panels are unsustainable.
- Human rights lawyers are calling for government reform.
Are solar panels made by slaves?
The Program Manager of the Campaign for Uyghurs in Washington DC, Arslan Hidayat, also said that the Australian government should do more to prevent products with links to slavery, such as solar panels, from being sold in Australia. .
Miners working at the Shabara artisanal cobalt mine near Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo, in October. Source: AFP / Junior Kannah
“There seems to be a fight between what is more important: climate change or human rights,” he said.
Mr Hidayat said Australian companies should “have to prove that their products are not made from slave labour” before they are allowed into the country.
What is ‘energetic payback’, and why is it important for a solar panel’s carbon footprint?
Michelle McCann from PV-Lab, an Australian company that focuses on quality assurance for solar panels, said the energy cost of a panel is important for its carbon footprint.
Solar panels at a power plant in Changji, Xinjiang province, China. Source: Getty / Costfoto/Future Publishing
“The longevity of a solar panel in practice is one of the biggest drivers of really strong payback time,” he said.
SBS News has contacted Energy Minister Chris Bowen’s office, the Chinese embassy in Canberra, and the Clean Energy Council for comment.