Life Cycle Assessment of Emerging Technologies: Comparing Rooftop and Ground Installation Solar Photovoltaic in Indonesia
Iseda, Reina Otsuka
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AbstractSolar photovoltaic (SPV) is a promising emerging technology for reducing green house gas emission and mitigating climate change. Past Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies have shown that SPV in general has less adverse climate change impact compared to conventional fossil fuel based electricity, even when including the energy intensive production phase. However, location-specific LCA is still lacking, as well as studies on environmental impacts other than climate change.
This thesis entails a comparative LCA of ground and rooftop SPV against the conventional energy mix in the context of Indonesia, where huge solar potential and
growing electricity demand exist. Results show that both ground and rooftop SPV have less impact on the environment compared to the national grid in many categories. However, the magnitude of the mineral, fossil fuel and resource depletion impact, for which SPV has larger impact, is relatively larger than other impact categories after normalization. Ground installation has the least impact compared to the national grid and rooftop installation in
most categories except for land use impact, but when the system duration is shorter than planned, the comparative advantage is lost. For stand-alone rooftop installation, the inefficiency and additional environmental impact of battery made SPV a less preferable option compared to conventional electricity. On-grid rooftop installation has smaller impact compared to stand-alone systems-- especially if the system duration becomes longer-- and may be the best preferred option since it avoids land use impact.
Further LCA research is necessary to incorporate the significance of converting forest land and potentially foreshortened end-of-life scenarios in developing countries.
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