Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) for photovoltaic solar systems in regions of moderate insolation : a comprehensive response

Raugei, Marco and Sgouridis, Sgouris and Murphy, David and Fthenakis, Vasilis and Frischknecht, Rolf and Breyer, Christian and Bardi, Ugo and Barnhart, Charles and Buckley, Alastair and Carbajales-Dale, Michael and Csala, Denes and de Wild-Scholten, Mariska and Heath, Garvin and Jæger-Waldau, Arnulf and Jones, Christopher and Keller, Arthur and Leccisi, Enrica and Mancarella, Pierluigi and Pearsall, Nicola and Siegel, Adam and Sinke, Wim and Stolz, Philippe (2017) Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) for photovoltaic solar systems in regions of moderate insolation : a comprehensive response. Energy Policy, 102. pp. 377-384. ISSN 0301-4215

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A recent paper by Ferroni and Hopkirk (2016) asserts that the ERoEI (also referred to as EROI) of photovoltaic (PV) systems is so low that they actually act as net energy sinks, rather than delivering energy to society. Such claim, if accurate, would call into question many energy investment decisions. In the same paper, a comparison is also drawn between PV and nuclear electricity. We have carefully analysed this paper, and found methodological inconsistencies and calculation errors that, in combination, render its conclusions not scientifically sound. Ferroni and Hopkirk adopt ‘extended’ boundaries for their analysis of PV without acknowledging that such choice of boundaries makes their results incompatible with those for all other technologies that have been analysed using more conventional boundaries, including nuclear energy with which the authors engage in multiple inconsistent comparisons. In addition, they use out-dated information, make invalid assumptions on PV specifications and other key parameters, and conduct calculation errors, including double counting. We herein provide revised EROI calculations for PV electricity in Switzerland, adopting both conventional and ‘extended’ system boundaries, to contrast with their results, which points to an order-of-magnitude underestimate of the EROI of PV in Switzerland by Ferroni and Hopkirk.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Energy Policy
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? eroieroeiphotovoltaic energyinsolation levelsswitzerlandgermanyincentive systemadjustment factorgeneral energymanagement, monitoring, policy and lawenergy(all) ??
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Deposited On:
03 Jan 2017 16:50
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 10:22