Garraín, Daniel

Photovoltaic energy has been considerably growing for the past few years. There are currently more than 500 GW installed worldwide and it is estimated that power could reach 8,500 GW in 2050. Therefore, one of the consequences of this increase will be the high volume of generated waste in the coming decades. Estimations could reach 78 megatons in 2030-2035 worldwide. The general objective of this work aims to analyze, from a sustainability point of view, different management scenarios for photovoltaic modules at the end of their useful life, through the application of quantitative methods that allow the development of strategies to move towards a circular economy, namely LCA, Material Circularity Indexes (MCI) and Input-Output (IO). Results highlight that recycling is the most viable alternative from all aspects of sustainability, favoring national and international government strategies in order to implement circular economy strategies in production processes. The MCI values of the recycling scenarios, considering quantities of materials mainly, are clearly higher than those of other scenarios, confirming the sustainable improvement both in the future learning curve of costs of these processes and in the generation of potential employment.