Life cycle assessment study of solar PV systems: an example of a 2.7 kWp distributed solar PV system in Singapore

Kannan, Ramachandran, Leong, K.C., Osman, Ramli, Ho, H.K. and Tso, C.P. (2006) Life cycle assessment study of solar PV systems: an example of a 2.7 kWp distributed solar PV system in Singapore. Solar Energy, 80 (5). pp. 555-563. ISSN 0038-092X

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In life cycle assessment (LCA) of solar PV systems, energy pay back time (EPBT) is the commonly used indicator to justify its primary energy use. However, EPBT is a function of competing energy sources with which electricity from solar PV is compared, and amount of electricity generated from the solar PV system which varies with local irradiation and ambient conditions. Therefore, it is more appropriate to use site-specific EPBT for major decision-making in power generation planning. LCA and life cycle cost analysis are performed for a distributed 2.7 kWp grid-connected mono-crystalline solar PV system operating in Singapore. This paper presents various EPBT analyses of the solar PV system with reference to a fuel oil-fired steam turbine and their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and costs are also compared. The study reveals that GHG emission from electricity generation from the solar PV system is less than one-fourth that from an oil-fired steam turbine plant and one-half that from a gas-fired combined cycle plant. However, the cost of electricity is about five to seven times higher than that from the oil or gas fired power plant. The environmental uncertainties of the solar PV system are also critically reviewed and presented.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Solar PV, Greenhouse gas emissions, Life cycle assessment, Life cycle cost analysis, Distributed generation
Subjects: University of Westminster > Architecture and the Built Environment > Policy Studies Institute (PSI) (No longer in use)
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2008 13:27

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