PV Evolution in the Light of Circular Economy

Silvana Ovaitt, Heather M. Mirletz, Acadia Hegedus, Ashley Gaulding, Teresa Barnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


As photovoltaic (PV) deployments increase, the increasing material volume presents challenges throughout the supply chain and eventual end-of-life waste management. Quantifying the value of lifetime, reliability, repair, reuse, recycling, and other options to increase circularity can help identify and prioritize research and technical solutions required to integrate PV into the circular economy. In this work, we capture the evolution of PV module technology, such as improved reliability and increasing market share of glass/glass modules. We discuss material circularity, lifetime and reliability, and energy return on investment as quantitative metrics to define and evaluate circularity and sustainability.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2021
Event48th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2021 - Fort Lauderdale, United States
Duration: 20 Jun 202125 Jun 2021


Conference48th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityFort Lauderdale

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5K00-78989 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5K00-81259


  • bifacial
  • circular economy
  • energy return on investment (EROI)
  • photovoltaics
  • recycle
  • reliability
  • repair
  • reuse
  • technology evolution


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