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Bravi M.,Polo Universitario Colle Of Val Delsa | Parisi M.L.,University of Siena | Tiezzi E.,Polo Universitario Colle Of Val Delsa | Tiezzi E.,University of Siena | And 3 more authors.

In this paper the results from a in-depth life cycle analysis of production and use of a novel grid-connected photovoltaic micromorph system are presented and compared to other thin film and traditional crystalline silicon photovoltaic technologies. Among the new thin film technologies, the micromorph tandem junction appears to be one of the most promising devices from the industrial point of view. The analysis was based on actual production data given to the authors directly from the PRAMAC Swiss Company and it is consistent with the recommendations provided by the ISO norms and updates. The gross energy requirement, green house gas emissions and energy pay-back time have been calculated for the electric energy output virtually generated by the studied system in a lifetime period of 20 years. A comparative framework is also provided, wherein results obtained for the case study are compared with data from literature previously obtained for the best commercially available competing photovoltaic technologies. Results clearly show a significant decrease in gross energy requirement, in green house gas emissions and also a shorter energy pay-back time for the micromorph technology. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Bravi M.,Polo Universitario Colle Of Val Delsa | Parisi M.L.,University of Siena | Tiezzi E.,Polo Universitario Colle Of Val Delsa | Tiezzi E.,University of Siena | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Heat and Technology

The study, developed through a detailed analysis of available data in the international literature, aims to better understand the nature and the extent of risks related to all stages of photovoltaic panels life cycle, produced by the most advanced technologies. For example, the CdTe (Cadmium Telluride) thin film photovoltaic technology is very promising from an economic and energetic point of view, but it shows challenges and risks related to the presence of a potentially very dangerous heavy metal, whose utilization has been actually banned in many products. Currently, CdTe photovoltaic panels arc not included in European regulations limiting elements considered dangerous and regulating their disposal. In terms of environmental impact, previous studies showed that the CdTe modules have similar or less impact than other photovoltaic technologies and have a lower energy consumption relative to the production stage. Indeed, these studies are developed on the only energetic return and EPBT (Energy Pay-Back Time) basis, and they do not take into account the effects related to heavy metals pollution. In this context, the CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium di-Selenide) and amorphous/micromorph MCPH thin-film silicon technologies showed to have an environmental impact comparable to that of CdTe and in some cases even less. The lack of ascertained data on the extent of risks associated with production, use and disposal stages of these panels and the fast technological progress of solar technologies make difficult, but necessary to outline a reliable framework and to assess a balance between risks and benefits in the use photovoltaic modules on a largescale. It is also urgent to implement an efficient action for the recovery and recycling based on the precautionary principle. Source

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