IEA-PVPS Task 12
PV Environmental Health And Safety

Objectives and roadmap

The objectives this subtask is addressing are the following:

  • To establish and demonstrate, with comprehensive and transparent studies over the full life cycle, that PV systems are environmentally friendly compared to other energy systems.
  • To show that future very large-scale implementation will provide clear environmental benefits.


The activities to achieve the announced objectives are the next:

  • Compare the environmental impact profiles of PV technologies with those of other energy technologies
  • Show the trends in PV environmental profiles by certain indicators (e.g., energy pay-back time, green-house gas emissions, environmental impacts, waste reduction, materials’ recycling and recovery).
  • Continue showing such progress in annual updates over the course of Task 12 (5 years).
  • Valuate the environmental benefits of PV by showing avoided impacts or avoided “external” costs. 
  • Credible communication and dissemination of results.


These activities have started with developing guidelines for a consistent methodological approach in LCI (Life Cycle Inventory) databases and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), enabling well-balanced and transparent comparisons among PV and other energy technologies. This will allow:

  • Benchmarking of the PV technology performance against other energy technologies
  • Monitoring and reporting progress in the environmental area (process and product)
  • Benchmarking of individual company performance within the whole PV industry
  • Credible communication and dissemination of results