Amorphous Silicon Photovoltaic Modules: A Life Cycle Design Case Study
The life cycle design framework was applied to photovoltaic module design. Two metrics were used to assess life cycle energy performance of a PV module: energy payback time and electricity production efficiency. These metrics are based on material production, manufacturing, and transportation energies, and were evaluated for several geographic locations. An aluminum frame was responsible for a significant fraction of the total energy invested in the studies module. Design options to reduce the energy impact of this and other components are discussed.