Life cycle assessment of silicon based tandem and advanced silicon solar modules [thesis]

Marina Monteiro Lunardi
Electricity generation from renewable sources has increased greatly in recent years. The use of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules is constantly studied and improved. Silicon (Si) solar cells dominate the current market share, because Si is abundant, non-toxic, stable and has benefited from developments in the semiconductor industry. However, the PV single-junction solar cell limiting energy conversion efficiency is approximately 30% (depending on specific assumptions). Tandem technology is based
more » ... n multiple solar cells that are each optimized for a part of the spectrum and can achieve higher efficiencies compared to single junction solar cells. Considering a Si bottom cell, there are also a few enhancements that can be made to achieve even higher efficiencies for tandem solar cells. Especially for crystalline Si (c-Si) wafer solar cells, there are many variations in the existing production processes to improve module performance, such as the passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) technology, which is replacing the recently-dominant screen-printed aluminium back surface field (Al-BSF) technology in the future. Environmental analysis should complement the development of new PV technologies. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a methodology that assesses environmental impacts through the inputs and outputs associated with all the stages of a product's life cycle, from the raw material extraction to the end of life. A significant quantity of inventory data is necessary to build a model as close as possible to reality to perform a realistic LCA and the availability of relevant and recent data is the greatest challenge for all LCA practitioners, independently of methodological approaches. The goal of this research is to undertake a comparison of several environmental impacts of different Si-tandem solar module technologies through the LCA method. Besides that, this research aims to partially address the inventory gap issue by developing life cycle inventory (LCI) data of some PV technologies and methods of production. Conduc [...]
doi:10.26190/unsworks/21226 fatcat:3vrdhsax5vhphj6dqcuajzix4a