As the solar photovoltaic market booms, so will the volume of photovoltaic (PV) systems entering the waste stream. The same is forecast for lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles, which at the end of their automotive life can be given a second life by serving as stationary energy storage units for renewable energy sources, including solar PV. The main objective of this paper is to systematically review the “state-of-the-art” research on the solar PV value chain (i.e., from product design to product end-of-life), including its main stages, processes, and stakeholder relationships, in order to identify areas along the value chain where circular strategies could be implemented, thereby advancing the transition of the PV industry towards circularity. To achieve this goal, we conducted a systematic literature review of 148 peer-reviewed articles, published in English between 2000 and 2020. Results show the PV value chain has been studied from a forward flow supply chain perspective and mostly from a technological point of view, with little regard for circular design, circular business models, and PV reuse. This article thus takes an integrated value chain perspective, introduces some of the barriers to circularity that industry players face, and argues that these barriers represent future opportunities for incumbent and new entrants to innovate within a circular PV industry.
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