Solar photovoltaic development in Australia - a life cycle sustainability assessment study

Yu, Man and Halog, Anthony (2015) Solar photovoltaic development in Australia - a life cycle sustainability assessment study. Sustainability, 7 2: 1213-1247. doi:10.3390/su7021213

Author Yu, Man
Halog, Anthony
Title Solar photovoltaic development in Australia - a life cycle sustainability assessment study
Journal name Sustainability   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2071-1050
Publication date 2015-02
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3390/su7021213
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue 2
Start page 1213
End page 1247
Total pages 35
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publisher M D P I
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract Australia possesses the highest average solar radiation of any continent in the world, but solar energy in total contributes less than 1% to Australia’s primary energy consumption. This study intends to assess whether solar photovoltaic (PV) is really a sustainable option for Australia’s energy transition on the project level. A life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) was conducted on a 1.2 MW flat-roof mounted PV solar array called UQ Solar, and the results suggested UQ Solar performed well in environmental aspects, except for emissions of several criteria air pollutants. It was economically feasible only with the grant provided by the Queensland government and the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) was more or less the same as the LCOE of offset electricity. However, its social performance was not as good as expected. Large-scale PV installations can be sustainable in Australia on several conditions. PV manufacturers should be more responsible for reducing the use of hazardous materials; end-of-life treatment should be taken good care of; government should truly support the deployment of large-scale PV installation by providing more incentives and infrastructures; substantial subsidies for fossil fuel power stations should phase out; more awareness and training activities should be organized to promote social acceptance.
Keyword LCSA
Solar PV
UQ Solar
Energy payback time (EPBT)
Grid parity
Social sustainability
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 12 Feb 2015, 15:47:21 EST by Helen Smith on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management