IEA PVPS Task 12: Photovoltaics Sustainability (working period 2018 - 2021)

The aim of IEA PVPS Task 12 is to foster international collaboration in the area of photovoltaics and environment. That includes compiling and disseminating accurate Information on environment, health, safety, and other aspects of sustainability associated with the life-cycle of photovoltaics. Results are guidelines and data basis in order to harmonize LCAs and studies on future environmental impacts of PV and PV recycling. The Austrian contribution addressed LCA, implementation of sustainability aspects and dissemination.

Short Description

The basis is developed in the following subtasks:

  • Subtask 1: Recycling of Manufacturing Waste and Spent Modules,
  • Subtask 2: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA),
  • Subtask 3: Other Sustainability Issues,

Since 2013 Austria is represented by the Institute of Renewable Energy at the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna.

The contribution in Dissemination was the expert's input in several publications of Task 12 and task members as well as networking and presentation of results and activities on related Austrian platforms and committees.

In Subtask 3 the contribution focused on the implementation of sustainability aspects. Austria and Spain are leading an activity in this field. First step was a comprehensive survey on sustainability indicators and a critical review of these indicators. The result will be a sample of reviewed indicators to show the contribution of PV to sustainable development.

Within subtask 2 the guidelines to harmonize LCAs were revised once more and LCIs as a databasis are being updated (see publications). There was also established a cooperation with IEA PVPS Task 15 (BIPV), Subtask D (Environment) in this area.

These results are providing harmonized methodologies and data, so international comparability of research results is fostered.

In addition a webservice for graphic display of environmental impacts of PV, is based on these data, connected with GIS- and local radiation data ("Environmental performance tool for PV systems"). For calculation module types, as well as azimuth and inclination can be varied. This service addresses researchers, experts and decisionmakers. It calculates various environmental impacts for chosen areas and defined technical circumstances.

In particular the collaboration beyond EU-borders with experts from Japan, Korea, China and USA, essentially extended the existing expertise, usually focused on EU-research.


Publications are available on the website of IEA PVPS Task 12.


Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, France, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, USA

Contact Address

Mag.a Susanne Schidler
Technikum Wien GmbH
Kompetenzfeld Renewable Energy Systems
Giefinggasse 6, 1220 Wien
Tel: +43(0)1 3334077-575
Mobil: +43(0)664 6192557