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Issue 3, 2018
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Assessing the photovoltaic technology landscape: efficiency and energy return on investment (EROI)

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Abstract

This study builds on previous meta-analyses of photovoltaic (PV) systems to assess the tradeoff between efficiency and energy inputs (i.e. cumulative energy demand, CED) in the energetic performance (as measured by energy return on investment (EROI)) of PV technologies under both high-cost and low-cost balance of system scenarios. This study focuses on three existing technology groups (wafer, thin film, and organic). We find that earlier projections of third-generation (high-efficiency, low-cost), thin-film technologies have not yet emerged, since “third-generation” technologies currently have low-cost but also low-efficiency. However, we also find that the best advances in energetic performance to date come from thin film technology.

Graphical abstract: Assessing the photovoltaic technology landscape: efficiency and energy return on investment (EROI)

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Jun 2017, accepted on 16 Jan 2018 and first published on 16 Jan 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EE01806A
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2018,11, 603-608
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Assessing the photovoltaic technology landscape: efficiency and energy return on investment (EROI)

    Z. Zhou and M. Carbajales-Dale, Energy Environ. Sci., 2018, 11, 603
    DOI: 10.1039/C7EE01806A

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