Photovoltaics (PV) is a key technology in the global clean energy transition. PV generates no use-phase emissions and can reduce electric grid emissions by displacing emitting generators. However, PV still entails up- and downstream environmental impacts during its life-cycle. These environmental impacts may become more salient as more PV is deployed. Addressing the up– and downstream environmental impacts of PV modules will be a key challenge as the industry scales.
According to EnergyManagerToday, in December 2017, the standard-development committee finalized and published the “Sustainability Leadership Standard for PV Modules” (SLS-PV). The SLS-PV defines sustainability criteria and scoring for PV modules across seven performance categories. As the ink dries on the SLS-PV, several processes are moving forward in parallel to prepare the industry to incorporate the new standard.
Hence the long-term impact of SLS-PV remains uncertain. In part, this uncertainty stems from a chicken-and-egg problem: PV manufacturers will only certify if there is sufficient market demand for SLS-certified modules, and PV buyers will only buy SLS-certified modules if there are enough certifying manufacturers to support a competitive market. Researchers at the NREL have begun to research this dilemma. Preliminary results suggest that enough latent demand for sustainable modules may exist to drive manufacturers to certify. New researches have suggested that the SLS-PV could align well with existing procurement initiatives.
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Date: May 27, 2019 @ 09:20
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