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The impact of solar and lithium-ion battery technology

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four portrait photos of students

Team members
Justus Woods, Finn Laister-Smith, Ben Caven, Grant Pease  

Faculty mentor
Prof. James Sweeney

The organization
Peninsula Clean Energy provides clean energy, including from sources such as wind and solar that are 100% carbon-free, and is on target to become 100% renewable by 2025.

peninsula clean energy logo

Project description

Our goal was to conduct a data analysis to deliver key findings on the impacts of solar and lithium-ion battery technologies to the Board of Directors at Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE). More specifically, we aimed to quantify these impacts by performing a life-cycle assessment, or LCA, on both technologies. Within the LCA, we performed a data analysis on each major part of the technology's life cycle.


Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology

  • Refinement and Production: We recommend that U.S.-based providers like PCE find alternative solar producers in the near future. We also recommend that PCE remains curious about innovations in refining technologies which can reduce energy inputs. 
  • Usage: We recommend that PCE looks into installing solar panels in urban, developed areas, specifically big box store rooftops. 
  • End of Life: We recommend that PCE seeks opportunities to work with manufacturers interested in recycling.  

Lithium-ion battery (LIB) technology

  • Raw Materials: We advise that PCE monitors the provider landscape for domestically-sourced products as the supply chain continues to make progress. 
  • Battery Assembly: PCE should attempt to secure LIBs from a domestic manufacturer to minimize the costs associated with the technology and stabilize their supply chain. 
  • Usage: Our primary recommendation is for PCE to closely monitor the effects of the U.S. government’s initiatives to advance battery technology, bolster domestic supply chain capabilities and seek to quickly adopt developments from these programs. 
  • End of Life: We recommend that PCE attempts to source its EV batteries through second life sources to mitigate the ESS carbon footprint.

Techniques used

By performing literature reviews and data collection, we used a life-cycle assessment to analyze the impacts associated with solar PV and lithium-ion battery storage technologies and provided recommendations to PCE when applicable.

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2022 senior projects