ENVI-PV: An Interactive Web Client for Multi-Criteria Life Cycle Assessment of Photovoltaic Systems Worldwide

Garvin Heath, Paula Perez-Lopez, Benoit Gschwind, Philippe Blanc, Rolf Frischknecht, Philippe Stolz, Yvonnick Durand, Lionel Menard, Isabelle Blanc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus Citations


Solar photovoltaics (PV) is the second largest source of new capacity among renewable energies. The worldwide capacity encompassed 135 GW in 2013 and is estimated to increase to 1721 GW in 2030 and 4674 GW in 2050, according to a prospective high-renewable scenario. To achieve this production level while minimizing environmental impacts, decision makers must have access to environmental performance data that reflect their high spatial variability accurately. We propose ENVI-PV (http://viewer.webservice-energy.org/project_iea), a new interactive tool that provides maps and screening level data, based on weighted average supply chains, for the environmental performance of common PV technologies. Environmental impacts of PV systems are evaluated according to a life cycle assessment approach. ENVI-PV was developed using a state-of-the-art interoperable and open standard Web Service framework from the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). It combines the latest life cycle inventories, published in 2015 by the International Energy Agency (IEA) under the Photovoltaic Power Systems Program (PVPS) Task 12, and some inventories previously published from Ecoinvent v2.2 database with solar irradiation estimates computed from the worldwide NASA SSE database. ENVI-PV is the first tool to propose a worldwide coverage of environmental performance of PV systems using a multi-criteria assessment. The user can compare the PV environmental performance to the environmental footprint of country electricity mixes. ENVI-PV is designed as an environmental interactive tool to generate PV technological options and evaluate their performance in different spatial and techno-economic contexts. Its potential applications are illustrated in this paper with several examples.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)484-498
Number of pages15
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-67751


  • IEA PVPS Task 12
  • interactive tool
  • interoperability
  • OGC standard
  • PV environmental performance
  • PV Web Service
  • solar irradiation data


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