SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
Material Use and Life Cycle Impact of Crystalline Silicon PV Modules Over Time
Luyao Yuan& Annick Anctil
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, United States

Most life cycle assessment (LCA) of crystalline silicon photovoltaics (c-Si PV) modules are based on public life cycle inventory (LCI) datasets with limited use of actual manufacturing data. We collect and calculate the amount of material used for production of different PV modules installed in the U.S. to analyze the trend in material intensity over and compare the numbers among various tier manufacturers and module reliability. Furthermore, results of LCA models using the public LCI data and the actual manufacturing material (specifically aluminum) data are compared to investigate the impact of material use on the life-cycle impact assessment of c-Si PV modules. Results show a trend of material use decrease over time and indicate a potential connection between material usage and the manufacturer tier – better manufacturers tend to use more materials for modules production which may lead to higher quality performance. Additional work will complete the life cycle assessment, explore more materials, and fill the data gap of PV modules produced by different manufacturer tiers in different years.