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Environmental Impact Associated with the Performance of Building Integrated Photovoltaics: Life-Cycle Assessment Perspective

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Energy Systems Evaluation (Volume 1)

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Abstract

Solar power can be used as a clean and sustainable source of energy that can in turn be applied in many ways, including to buildings; solar power applied to a building can produce energy for use directly inside the building. Solar Photovoltaics, which are directly attached to the building, are called Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). This type of Solar Photovoltaics is considered a main constructed layer of the building as it can replace the Façade, windows, or rooftops. Nevertheless, to manufacture BIPV, the manufacturing process consumes an abundance of energy and produces an extensive amount of greenhouse emissions. These energies and emissions are either directly related to the processes of manufacturing BIPV or they are indirectly related to it—through the fossil fuels burnt to produce the energy that manufactures BIPV. In this case, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) will be conducted to quantify the emissions and waste associated with the manufacturing processes or the energy that is needed as an input to these processes. An LCA can be used to indicate all types of impact categories associated with the whole life cycle of the product, in this case BIPV. This chapter describe the environmental impact associated with the performance and the manufacturing of BIPV based on an LCA. Through a review of multiple types of studies, this chapter focuses on the environmental impact of the different types of material, like silicon and thin-films, used to manufacture BIPV. Different applications of BIPV are also considered as a means of assessing the performance of BIPV when applied to different layers of a building as well as the environmental impact performance when BIPV operates in different geographical locations. As a comparison, Energy Payback time (EPBT), which plays a key role in understanding the energy break-even point for the used BIPV, will be examined as well.

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Correspondence to Sami G. Al-Ghamdi .

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Al-Janahi, S.A., Al-Ghamdi, S.G. (2021). Environmental Impact Associated with the Performance of Building Integrated Photovoltaics: Life-Cycle Assessment Perspective. In: Ren, J. (eds) Energy Systems Evaluation (Volume 1). Green Energy and Technology. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-67529-5_10

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-67529-5_10

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