Evaluating embodied carbon of solar panels Some are much better than others

16 March 2022 by Jason Quinn

Elementa Consulting has released a very easy to follow report on a very complex topic: how good are PV panels and what matters when you consider their embodied carbon?

Image: Elementa Consulting Whole Life Carbon of Photovoltaic Installations: Technical Report February 2022

The report is well worth reading. To me the two most important charts are Figure 1 (above), which shows that although PV panels start with a high embodied carbon, as they offset electricity carbon emissions they become carbon negative. This is true even in the future (a fully renewable grid will still have associated carbon emissions).

There are several critical factors, but the PV panel production’s associated embodied carbon is the largest one. Figures 5 and 6 (below) point out the importance of referring to current environmental product description (EPD) data for PV panels. Some panels are 1/8th the embodied carbon per unit of power produced compared to others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *