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Energies 2017, 10(7), 841; doi:10.3390/en10070841

Highly Efficient 3rd Generation Multi-Junction Solar Cells Using Silicon Heterojunction and Perovskite Tandem: Prospective Life Cycle Environmental Impacts

Institute of Natural Resource Sciences, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, 8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
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Academic Editor: Jean-Michel Nunzi
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 9 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment of Energy Technolgies)
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Abstract

In this study, the environmental impacts of monolithic silicon heterojunction organometallic perovskite tandem cells (SHJ-PSC) and single junction organometallic perovskite solar cells (PSC) are compared with the impacts of crystalline silicon based solar cells using a prospective life cycle assessment with a time horizon of 2025. This approach provides a result range depending on key parameters like efficiency, wafer thickness, kerf loss, lifetime, and degradation, which are appropriate for the comparison of these different solar cell types with different maturity levels. The life cycle environmental impacts of SHJ-PSC and PSC solar cells are similar or lower compared to conventional crystalline silicon solar cells, given comparable lifetimes, with the exception of mineral and fossil resource depletion. A PSC single-junction cell with 20% efficiency has to exceed a lifetime of 24 years with less than 3% degradation per year in order to be competitive with the crystalline silicon single-junction cells. If the installed PV capacity has to be maximised with only limited surface area available, the SHJ-PSC tandem is preferable to the PSC single-junction because their environmental impacts are similar, but the surface area requirement of SHJ-PSC tandems is only 70% or lower compared to PSC single-junction cells. The SHJ-PSC and PSC cells have to be embedded in proper encapsulation to maximise the stability of the PSC layer as well as handled and disposed of correctly to minimise the potential toxicity impacts of the heavy metals used in the PSC layer. View Full-Text
Keywords: life cycle assessment (LCA); photovoltaics; perovskite; multi-junction; tandem; silicon heterojunction; greenhouse gas; carbon footprint; electricity life cycle assessment (LCA); photovoltaics; perovskite; multi-junction; tandem; silicon heterojunction; greenhouse gas; carbon footprint; electricity
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Itten, R.; Stucki, M. Highly Efficient 3rd Generation Multi-Junction Solar Cells Using Silicon Heterojunction and Perovskite Tandem: Prospective Life Cycle Environmental Impacts. Energies 2017, 10, 841.

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