Solar systems are more environmentally friendly than ever

Wädenswil ZH/Paris – A survey by the International Energy Agency shows that new photovoltaic modules emit only half as much greenhouse gases as ten years ago. It was created with the expertise of two scientists from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences.

The fact sheet Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Electricity from PV Systems, updated for 2023 by the International Energy Agency in Paris, makes it clear that photovoltaic systems are becoming increasingly environmentally friendly. It provides an overview of the ecological life cycle assessment of four different photovoltaic systems.

According to a statement from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences(ZHAW), the fact sheet for 2023 is based on the expertise of Matthias Stucki and Michael Götz as well as two other experts. The two ZHAW scientists are members of the Life Cycle Assessment research group at the Institute of Environment and Natural Resources.

Among other things, the 2023 factsheet highlights the significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to systems that generate electricity using fossil fuels. According to the report, photovoltaic technology has developed to such an extent that these emissions have halved over the entire life cycle of the systems assessed over the past ten years.

For systems with monocrystalline silicon in Switzerland, this is still around 36 grams of CO2 equivalents per kilowatt hour of electricity and for CdTe (cadmium telluride) systems 25 grams of CO2 equivalents per kilowatt hour of electricity. The time required for a module to generate the energy needed to produce it is also one year or less for the first time in history, both for systems with monocrystalline silicon and for CdTe systems. ce/mm

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