Solar PV Not A Zero-Emission Source; Radiates More CO2 Than Geothermal: Study

“Solar PV cells may not emit CO2 during the generation of electricity, but in their lifetime, emissions are considerable. Therefore, solar PV cannot be considered a zero-emission source,” said the research titled ‘CO2 emissions from renewables: Solar PV, hydrothermal and EGS sources’

January 28, 2020. By News Bureau

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Solar photovoltaic (PV) cells radiate more carbon dioxide (CO2) than geothermal power plants during their lifespan, as per a recent study.

The research published in the journal Geomechanics and Geophysics for Geo-Energy and Geo-Resources said that total CO2 emissions during the lifecycle of a solar photovoltaic (PV) cell is about 3312 × 106 kg, which is far higher than a geothermal energy source emitting about 450 g/kWh.

“Solar PV cells may not emit CO2 during the generation of electricity, but in their lifetime, emissions are considerable. Therefore, solar PV cannot be considered a zero-emission source,” said the research titled ‘CO2 emissions from renewables: Solar PV, hydrothermal and EGS sources’.

The research paper added that apart from the emissions associated to the manufacture of solar PV cells, solar panels and solar cell waste management were also of great distress.

“Globally the generation of solar panel waste will be of the order of 78 million tonnes. Countries involved in the manufacture of solar pv cells will emit considerable amounts of CO2 from this source in addition to coal-based thermal power plants,” it said.

The life cycle examination of solar cells looks at the material needed in producing them, coupled with their environmental impact during construction, operation and decommissioning stages.

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