Assessing the prospective environmental impacts of photovoltaic systems based on a simplified LCA model

Abstract : The increasing electricity demand and the limited fossil energy resources require the development of new energy policies, based on more environment-friendly electricity-production technologies. The use of photovoltaic (PV) systems has been increasing a lot these last years, and this growth will probably continue. Although the environmental impacts of PV systems are small during their operating phase, they are more significant during their fabrication and recycling phases. These impacts must thus be assessed over the complete life time using life cycle analysis (LCA). However, LCA requires the collection of a large amount of data and is thus time-consuming. Besides, LCA results found in the literature corresponding to the photovoltaic energy pathway show a large variability, reflecting the heterogeneity of systems and their modeling within this energy pathway. An analysis based on 57 estimates found in 23 peer-reviewed studies revealed that the environmental performances related to climate change (defined by the ratio of the impacts related to climate change and the electricity production over the life cycle) range between 1 to 218 gCO2eq/kWh
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Camille Marini, Pierryves Padey, Isabelle Blanc, Denis Le Boulch. Assessing the prospective environmental impacts of photovoltaic systems based on a simplified LCA model. SETAC Europe 24th Annual Meeting, May 2014, Basel, Switzerland. 2 p. ⟨hal-01015544⟩

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