L R AS Published on Monday 20 September 2021 - n° 374 - Categories:minister-regulation
What is the environmental impact of imported photovoltaics?
ADEME has sought to measure the environmental impact of photovoltaics. The carbon footprint of a panel depends on several factors
including the annual producibility of the photovoltaic installation, the lifetime of the panels (25 to 35 years), the inverters (10 to 30 years), the amount of electricity needed to produce the silicon, the CO2 content of the electricity mix used to manufacture the panel, cells and wafers, and the type of system itself (ground or roof mounted).Each of these factors is subject to uncertainty. Each of these factors is subject to uncertainty, which prevents the PV industry from providing a single confidence interval associated with its impact estimates.
To limit the uncertainty, the study presented a confidence interval in the form of a probability distribution. From this research, the INCER-ACV application was born, which allows to test several hypotheses by calculating the average and median values of an environmental indicator.
The average result is 37 gCO2eq/kWh: There is a 50% chance that the result is less than 36 gCO2eq/kWh, a 10% chance that it is less than 27 gCO2eq/kWh, and a 10% chance that it is greater than 49 gCO2eq/kWh.
The study takes as a reference the Chinese electricity mix used for the production of a panel. By replacing this figure with the value corresponding to a French electricity mix, the carbon footprint of the PV panel would be halved. Thus, the relocation of PV production in France would halve its carbon footprint.
PV Magazine of 17 September 2021