Utility-scale solar construction waste stream mitigation and potential repurposed use of photovoltaic modules

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Title: Utility-scale solar construction waste stream mitigation and potential repurposed use of photovoltaic modules
Author: Burkhart, Aaron
Abstract: This paper presents a quantitative analysis of the utility-scale solar construction waste stream and the identification of potential use items within that waste stream. The purpose of the analysis is to understand the total renewable energy loss due to current construction practices and invite consideration of potentially mitigating these modules from the waste stream as demand for solar energy continues to grow nationwide. This analysis conducted onsite evaluations of photovoltaic (PV) modules in the construction waste stream of 2 utility-scale solar projects totaling 90MW of renewable energy. The investigation concluded that 15 – 20% of the PV module waste stream could be categorized as still functional. Typical utility-scale construction breakage rates for commercial-grade PV modules is 0.3 – 0.6% of the total installed PV modules. When assessing the potential waste stream mitigation of these modules, just one utility-scale solar project is sending hundreds of functional PV modules to landfills that can still produce renewable energy. Going further, the data collected in this study, when applied to the entire US annual solar install capacity, solar construction companies are sending tens of thousands of functional PV solar modules into landfills across the US. These results invite solar EPCs, Owners, & Manufacturers to reassess the value of these modules and amend construction practices or warranty standards to focus on this valuable solar asset.
Date: 2019-07
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.20/36905


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