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Title: The impact of off-site land use energy intensity on the overall life cycle land use energy intensity for utility-scale solar electricity generation technologies

Abstract

Estimates of the amount of land used for a defined amount of utility-scale electricity generation in the solar power industry, referred to as solar land use energy intensity (LUEI), are important to decision makers for evaluating the environmental impact of energy technology choices. In general, solar energy tends to have a larger on-site LUEI than that of fossil fuels because the energy generated per square meter of power plant area is much lower. Unfortunately, there are few studies that quantify the off-site LUEI for utility-scale solar energy, and of those that do, they share common methodologies and data sets. In this study, we develop a new method for calculating the off-site LUEI for utility-scale solar energy for three different technologies: silicon photovoltaic (Si-PV), cadmium-telluride (CdTe) PV, and parabolic trough concentrated solar thermal. Our results indicate that the off-site LUEI is most likely 1% or less of the on-site LUEI for each technology. Although our results have some inherent uncertainties, they fall within an order of magnitude of other estimates in the literature.

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) - Office of Solar Energy Technology (SETO)
OSTI Identifier:
1391806
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1941-7012
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
energy intensity; land use; life cycle; off-site; solar energy; utility-scale

Citation Formats

Murphy, David J., Horner, Robert M., and Clark, Corrie E. The impact of off-site land use energy intensity on the overall life cycle land use energy intensity for utility-scale solar electricity generation technologies. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1063/1.4921650.
Murphy, David J., Horner, Robert M., & Clark, Corrie E. The impact of off-site land use energy intensity on the overall life cycle land use energy intensity for utility-scale solar electricity generation technologies. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4921650.
Murphy, David J., Horner, Robert M., and Clark, Corrie E. Fri . "The impact of off-site land use energy intensity on the overall life cycle land use energy intensity for utility-scale solar electricity generation technologies". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4921650.
@article{osti_1391806,
title = {The impact of off-site land use energy intensity on the overall life cycle land use energy intensity for utility-scale solar electricity generation technologies},
author = {Murphy, David J. and Horner, Robert M. and Clark, Corrie E.},
abstractNote = {Estimates of the amount of land used for a defined amount of utility-scale electricity generation in the solar power industry, referred to as solar land use energy intensity (LUEI), are important to decision makers for evaluating the environmental impact of energy technology choices. In general, solar energy tends to have a larger on-site LUEI than that of fossil fuels because the energy generated per square meter of power plant area is much lower. Unfortunately, there are few studies that quantify the off-site LUEI for utility-scale solar energy, and of those that do, they share common methodologies and data sets. In this study, we develop a new method for calculating the off-site LUEI for utility-scale solar energy for three different technologies: silicon photovoltaic (Si-PV), cadmium-telluride (CdTe) PV, and parabolic trough concentrated solar thermal. Our results indicate that the off-site LUEI is most likely 1% or less of the on-site LUEI for each technology. Although our results have some inherent uncertainties, they fall within an order of magnitude of other estimates in the literature.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4921650},
journal = {Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy},
issn = {1941-7012},
number = 3,
volume = 7,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {5}
}

Works referenced in this record:

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Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Trough and Tower Concentrating Solar Power Electricity Generation: Systematic Review and Harmonization
journal, April 2012


Characterizing variability and reducing uncertainty in estimates of solar land use energy intensity
journal, July 2013