Dynamic carbon mitigation analysis: the role of thin-film photovoltaics†
The introduction of substantial levels of renewable energy technologies will incur greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during product manufacture. We have developed a model to assess the impact on GHG emissions of a growth of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity. The model is applied to PV growth scenarios in India and Germany, locations which differ in their insolation and the carbon intensity of the local grid. The impact of growth is to delay net GHG emission reductions by around 4 and 9 years in the Indian and German scenarios receptively. This dynamic approach quantifies the benefit of technologies with a lower GHG footprint in achieving rapid GHG emission reductions. In addition, short lifetime PV technologies, with a low GHG footprint, such as organic PV, can show greater emission reductions despite a higher levelised global warming potential (gCO2eq per kWh). Finally, a measure of the dynamic cost of GHG emission reductions is proposed to assess the cost, over the short term, of emission reductions from renewable energy technologies.