Sustainability strategies for PV: framework, status and needs
Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Freiburg 79110, Germany
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Received in final form: 8 October 2021
Accepted: 19 October 2021
Published online: 9 November 2021
The large-scale deployment of photovoltaics (PV) is a central pillar in decarbonizing energy systems and reaching climate goals. Although PV is inherently associated to environmental awareness, it is not immune to reputational risks nor exempt of a responsibility for transparency and sustainability leadership. So far, advances in the PV industry have mainly been shaped by cost-reduction targets. We identified in previous works 16 topics where the PV sector comes short in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG 12) “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”. In this paper, practical approaches to address each of these sustainability gaps are proposed. The best-practices identified cover all aspects of sustainability as defined by SDG 12–from resource use and hazardous substances through corporate reporting and risk assessment to due diligence and waste management. Insights on methodological needs to improve sustainability assessment and accounting in PV are also provided. The compiled list of actions needed, although not intended to be exhaustive, constitutes a starting point for stakeholders to raise their ambitions and achieve more sustainability in PV value chains.
Key words: Photovoltaics / sustainable development goal 12 / circularity / life-cycle sustainability / roadmap
© E. Gervais et al., Published by EDP Sciences, 2021
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