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Examining the use of End-of-Life (EoL) PV panels in housing and sustainability

Rao, RR and Priyadarshini, S and Mani, M (2023) Examining the use of End-of-Life (EoL) PV panels in housing and sustainability. In: Solar Energy, 257 . 210 -220.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2023.04.033


Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations worldwide continue to grow, and in 2022, global PV installations crossed 1 TW of solar PV. Various factors like extreme weather events, higher temperatures, humidity, and other operational factors bring down the life of PV panels. A poor functional and (or) economic viability leads PV panel to its End-of-Life (EoL). By the end of 2050, 70–80 million tonnes of EoL-PV waste is anticipated. Recycling technology is currently not economically viable. A hitherto untried solution is proposed to use EoL-PV panels as a building material. The rising need for building materials in developing countries is imminent, and EoL-PV would be a low-cost, low embodied energy building material. Our objectives are to evaluate the potential benefits of such strategy in terms of reduction in embodied energy, carbon emission offset, and cost benefit. Following that, projections on number of EoL-PV panels and number of households in demand in every state and union territory of India are made. A projection at this level will show the potential sources of End-of-Life PV panels and number of places where the houses in demand exist. Embodied Energy, Cost, and carbon emissions of a typical EoL-PV integrated building is lower by 30.7, 38.4 and 33.3 compared to conventional buildings of the same size, respectively. This is a promising result for a preliminary investigation and calls for further assessment. Even if 6.9 of the households (demand) in the country use EoL-PV panels as the choice of building material during 2030-2035, all the EoL-PV panels generated may be fully utilized in India ending the possible landfill option. The avoided carbon emissions, in this case, is around 2 (or 8 million tonnes). This study strongly suggests the use of EoL-PV in buildings by integrating as a building element rather than applying on the wall/roof of the building, simply to enjoy the benefits of cost, embodied energy and emissions. The estimations made in this study may be replicated for the case of other countries where solar PV waste issue is anticipated. This approach makes EoL-PV no longer a liability to the solar power plant but an asset that can be traded for another application.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Solar Energy
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Additional Information: The copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier Ltd.
Keywords: Building materials; Carbon; Concentrated solar power; Cost benefit analysis; Developing countries; Solar energy; Solar panels; Solar power generation; Sustainable development; Buildings materials; Carbon emissions; Embodied energy; End of lives; End-of-life photovoltaic panel; Housing demand; Photovoltaic panels; Photovoltaics; Solar photovoltaics; Sustainable development goal; Housing
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Sustainable Technologies (formerly ASTRA)
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2023 09:39
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 09:39
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/81880

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