Environmental footprinting of photovoltaic module production


By Mariska de Wild-Scholten, Consultant, SmartGreenScans

Several PV module producers have performed a carbon footprint analysis and published a sustainability report as part of their corporate social responsibility policy. Comparison of carbon footprint results is difficult because several international standards and life cycle assessment (LCA) databases are used. No product footprint category rules (PFCR) or product category rules (PCRs) for photovoltaics exist, so LCAs are performed with varying underlying assumptions. Furthermore, a fair comparison can only be made when all environmental footprints of a product are taken into account.

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The 15th edition of Photovoltaics International hopes to bring some optimism to 2012 by tackling the key factors on how to cope with the current situation. Contributions come from MIT on using TCAD as a viable method for modelling metal impurity evolution; Alternative Energy Investing presents a comprehensive look at materials cost; and efficiency improvements are on offer by ECN. REC Solar and Tata BP Solar report on module lifetime and IMS Research gives us a brief rundown of 2012 global market expectations.

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