12PV Sustainability Activities

Task Managers

The goal of Task 12 is to foster international cooperation and knowledge sharing on the sustainable aspects of PV technology, emphasizing environmental and social factors. Its mission is to provide essential information to stakeholders, enhancing consumer and policy-maker confidence in PV systems, and thereby accelerating the shift towards sustainable energy.


The objectives of Task 12 are to:

  1. Quantify PV electricity’s environmental profile to enhance supply chain sustainability and enable comparisons with other energy technologies.
  2. Enhance PV technology and materials circularity through novel analysis, legislative tracking, and technical standards development.
  3. Investigate synergies between PV system deployment and its environmental and ecosystem impacts.
  4. Identify and tackle both real and perceived social and socio-economic challenges to PV market growth.
  5. Share analytical findings with technical experts, policymakers, and the public.

Task 12’s first objective focuses on employing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for detailing energy, material, and emission flows across PV life cycles, including human health assessments. The second objective involves advancing the circular economy for PV modules and system components through research and metric development. The third objective is met by evaluating the impact of PV projects on ecosystems, including both standard and integrated systems like agrivoltaics. The fourth objective promotes sustainable practices within the solar value chain and assesses environmental, social, and socio-economic impacts of PV technology. Lastly, the fifth objective engages a wide audience through publications, presentations, and media collaboration, disseminating information and fostering industry-wide sustainable actions.


Task 12 aims to facilitate a common understanding of PV Sustainability, with a focus on Environment Health and Safety (EH&S), among the various country-members and disseminate the Task’s outcomes and knowledge to stakeholders, energy and environmental policy decision makers, and the general public.

Task 12 is operated jointly by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and University of New South Wales (UNSW). Support from the United States’ Department of Energy (DOE)  and the Australian University of New South Wales (UNSW) are gratefully acknowledged.

Task 12's current phase, which began in 2018, has been extended through 2028, with ongoing activities organized accordingly.

1Subtask 1 Circular Economy (CE)

This subtask addresses the following objectives:

  1. Track status and trends in development of circular economy systems and technologies,
  2. Study PV materials – their demand and availability at end of life, including secondary material markets,
  3. Investigate strategies for module repair and reuse, including better understanding of cost, performance, and efficiency trade-offs.

2Subtask 2 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

This subtask aims the next targets:

  1. Sustain the international go-to reference for the LCA of PV energy systems;
  2. Provide well documented methodologies and updated inventory data and further disseminate the information to promote the inclusion of LCA metrics in societal, economic and policy decision making processes.
  3. Extend LCA and LCI to new and emerging technology concepts as well as system components, and end of life options.

3Subtask 3 Ecosystem Integrated PV (EcoPV)

The main objectives within this subtask are:

  1. Propose a synthesis of methods to monitor the environmental impact of PV on it’s the ecosystem it is built on (ground mounted and floating PV systems).
  2. Develop a comprehensive understanding of the ecosystemic impact of standard PV systems, as well as emerging PV applications (Agrivoltaics, Floating PV, etc.), in various environmental contexts.
  3. Establish connections between environmental and sustainability-focused activities within Task 12 and the Agrivoltaics Action Group to foster collaborative initiatives and information exchange.

4Subtask 4 Broader Sustainability Aspects

The main objectives within this subTask are:

  1. Improve understanding of social and socio-economic assessment of PV systems.
  2. Develop a deeper understanding of potential human health risks for photovoltaics for several key scenarios reflecting non-routine operational circumstances (fire, breakage, disposal) to further solidify the safety, occupational and health impact profile of PV.

Task 12 Reports