Embodied Carbon of Solar Panels

Check out this great study on embodied carbon payback of solar panels by Craig Jones at Circular Ecology


  • Solar PV electricity is considerably better than fossil fuel based electricity
  • However, monocrystalline PV has an increasingly notable embodied carbon
  • To realise the carbon saving opportunity, there should be more consideration of alternative types of PV, such as CdTe, which could be ~63% lower embodied carbon per kWp than monocrystalline PV
  • With crystalline PV making up 90% of the market share, the opportunity to save embodied carbon footprint through other types of PV is large
  • Solar PV manufacturers should be producing more embodied carbon footprint and LCA data, which is chronically lacking
  • In the context of net zero carbon buildings the embodied carbon of monocrystalline PV could be a significant source of carbon emissions
  • It therefore presents an excellent case for inclusion of embodied carbon in the definition of net zero carbon
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@ksimonen thank your for sharing this report. This is something I have asked about multiple times but I have found suppliers have been hesitant to share information.