ETIP Photovoltaics

Roadmap 5

Eco-labelling and energy-labelling

Rationale for support

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is an important tool for eval- uating the environmental profile of energy technologies, as the results can be used to guide life cycle engineering decisions of new processes and equipment. In this context, it is imperative to provide up to date, verified and widely accessible life cycle inventory (LCI) data for PV components in data bases (Ecoinvent, GABI, Life Cycle Data information system).

There is no doubt that data availability is key for setting standards based on accurate databases for material de- mand, flow, and impact throughout the life cycle. However, it usually takes about 4 to 5 years to update. Therefore, it is required to achieve a more dynamic database update, as PV technology evolves much faster than the LCI reference databases.

Need for accurate (and up-to-date) life cycle inventory da- tabases is very clear and should indeed be a strong rec- ommendation for future research projects - it should be evaluated, how the Eco-Invent Database, GABI database and the European Commission Life Cycle data information system could be updated through dedicated research - leveraging the results of the Product Environmental Footprint Pilot phase.


  • 3 to 4 years in IEA T12 to update (data availability is key)
  • In the EU, the PV industry participated in the Prod- uct Environmental Footprint (PEF) Pilot Phase [ (64)] and developed sectoral Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for Photovoltaic Modules used in photovoltaic power systems for electricity generation [ (65)]. This validated the envi- ronmental performance of PV technologies in the EU, and better informed decisions on what EU sus- tainable product policies would be most appropri- ate for this category of products
  • Latest JRC technical report with policy recommen- dations on ecodesign for modules and inverters, en- ergy and ecolabel for residential systems and green public procurement (GPP) criteria for PV systems
  • Recommendations presented in the expert input paper – Eco-design & energy labelling for photovol- taic modules, inverters and systems in the EU

Targets, Type of Activity and TRL

Holistic evaluation of sustainability performance with an Environmental Impact Index (EII), in which various influencing factors of industrial or other hu- man activity to the environment are condensed in a way that the impact of such activity can be recon- structed and evaluated.

Carry out an eco-design measure to promote repa- rability of photovoltaic inverters, and therefore to increase their lifespan. In this framework, the inverter should be constructed to allow access to and replacement of identified parts

More dynamic database update

Implementation of an EII. The proposed scale would be in alphabetical order from A through G, provid- ing guidance with the following interpretation:

  • Levels A, B: Pass for GPP and ED/EL requirements
  • Levels C, D: Pass for ED/EL requirements, fail for GPP requirements
  • Level E: Fail for GPP, ED/EL requirements with minor deficiencies
  • Levels F, G: Fail for GPP, ED/EL requirements with medium / major deficiencies

Implement requirements for GPP and Eco Label: EII minimum classification of “B” in every single cate- gory. As a transitional method, for some selected categories, a classification of “D” can be considered for an intermediate period of 2 years following the enactment of the directive.


KPITarget Value (2030)
Lifetime in Eco-design

40 years for PV modules (defined as 80 % of
initial performance)
15 years minimum for all electronic / elec-
tro-mechanical components of the inverter,
including the software needed for the full
function of the device.

PV module Degradation rate in Eco-design

0.4 %/year

Delivery of the spare parts

Within 15 working days within Europe

EII classification> 25 % Products (Modules & Inverters) with a
minimum of “B”
Update of LCI databaseEvery year
Design for deconstruct strategies of tandem technologies, to separate top from bottom cells,
and facilitate EoL management
At least each individual printed circuit board and disconnectable component of the inverter
must be provided as an independent spare part
Annual update of the LCI database, including harmonization among the various reference pub-
lishers (IEA, ecoinvent, GABI ...)