- Solar panel production can have slave labour links, experts say.
- They also say many low quality panels aren’t sustainable.
- Human rights lawyers are calling for government reform.
Are solar panels produced by slaves?
Program Manager at Campaign for Uyghurs in Washington DC, Arslan Hidayat, also said the Australian government needs to do more to prevent products with slavery links, such as solar panels, from being sold in Australia.
Miners working at the Shabara artisanal cobalt mine near Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in October. Source: AFP / Junior Kannah
“There seems to be a battle between what’s more important: climate change or human rights,” he said.
Mr Hidayat said companies in Australia should “have to prove their products aren’t made from slave labour” before they’re allowed in the country.
What’s ‘energetic payback’, and why is it crucial 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 energetic payback of a panel is crucial 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 is in practice one of the biggest drivers of the real energetic payback time,” she said.
SBS News has contacted Energy Minister Chris Bowen’s office, China’s embassy in Canberra, and the Clean Energy Council for comment.