PV FAQs: What is the Energy Payback for PV?

    Research output: NRELFact Sheet


    How long does a PV system have to operate to recover the energy-and the associated generation of pollution and CO2- that went into making the system? Energy paybacks for rooftop systems range from 1 to 4 years, depending on the system. Based on models and real data, the idea that PV cannot pay back its energy investment is simply a myth.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages2
    StatePublished - 2004

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/FS-520-37322

    Other Report Number

    • DOE/GO-102004-2040


    • CO2
    • energy payback
    • FAQs
    • frequently asked questions
    • ground systems
    • pay back energy
    • payback
    • photovoltaics (PV)
    • PV
    • solar energy


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