Sandvika, Norway, September 7, 2011: REC announced the results of their second Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) completed by the independent and internationally recognized Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). “A Life Cycle Analysis is an important tool allowing investors and consumers to better understand sustainability of solar systems. REC’s LCA results show that they continue to reduce the energy used to produce solar panels which is making PV more sustainable and competitive”, said Ton Veltkamp, Manager Silicon Photovoltaics - Materials & Processing, ECN Solar Energy.
The study is an assessment of the complete environmental impact of a solar module from the extraction of raw materials through the manufacturing to the recycling of a module. The study was completed by ECN for REC during Q1 2011 using the ISO 14040 standard.
Erik Sauar, Senior Vice President and CTO, REC Group stated: “We are continuously working to reduce waste in product design, improve ingot crystallization efficiency, decrease wafer thickness and increase cell efficiency with a target of 18 percent in 2012 in order to make solar more sustainable.”
The results show that REC products are amongst the first crystalline modules with an energy payback time (EPBT) of one year. This is the time it takes for a module to generate the same amount of energy required for its manufacture including all the balance of system components (BOS). The energy payback time is based on locations with about 1700 kWh/m² insolation per year – which is typical for Southern Europe and Northern US.
The ECN study further showed that the carbon footprint of an REC system is only between 18 and 22 g/kWh CO2 depending on the manufacturing chain while a more conventional PV system has a footprint around 35 g/kWh.
REC’s FBR process, which consumes 90 percent less power than the best competitors, and REC’s world leading energy yields are the two main reasons behind REC’s strong sustainability performance.
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Heather Pace Clark
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