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Environmental Impacts of Photovoltaic (PV) Electricity: A Critical Comparison of Energy Supply Options

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E.A. Alsema, M.J. de Wild-Scholten, V.M. Fthenakis
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This report provides an overview of the current and future environmental impacts of different photovoltaic (PV) technologies. Crystalline silicon PV systems currently have energy pay-back times of 1.5-2 years for South-European locations and 2.7-3.5 years for Middle-European locations. Clear prospects for a reduction of energy input exist for silicon technology, and an energy pay-back of 1 year may be possible within a few years.