Net energy analysis for sustainable energy production from silicon based solar cells

Joshua Pearce, Andrew Scott Lau

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A number of detailed studies on the energy requirements on the three types of photovoltaic (PV) materials, which make up the majority of the active solar market: single crystal, polycrystalline, and amorphous silicon were reviewed. It was found that modern PV cells based on these silicon technologies pay for themselves in terms of energy in a few years (1-5 years). They thus generate enough energy over their lifetimes to reproduce themselves many times (6-31 reproductions) depending on what type of material, balance of system, and the geographic location of the system. It was found that regardless of material, built-in PV systems are a superior ecological choice to centralized PV plants. Finally, the results indicate that efficiency plays a secondary role to embodied energy in the overall net energy production of modern solar cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Dec 24 2002
EventSolar Engineering 2002 - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2002Jun 20 2002


OtherSolar Engineering 2002
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityReno, NV

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Space and Planetary Science


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