Environmental Efficiency of Photovoltaic Power Plants in China—A Comparative Study of Different Economic Zones and Plant Types


In this paper we study and compare the environmental efficiency of 118 photovoltaic (PV) plants in China. Drawing on the nonparametric data envelopment analysis (DEA) method, our study takes the initiative to take the insolation, annual sunshine duration, and covering area as input variables into account, as well as the installed capacity, annual electricity generation, CO2 emission reduction, and coal saving as output variables, to provide a unified measure of environmental efficiency of PV plants in China. We find widespread inefficiencies in roughly 95% of the PV plants, and the performance of different economic zones and types of PV plants are quite different. Specifically, those PV plants in eastern China are the least satisfying performers among three different economic zones. The surprising result indicates that eastern China has room for improvement by overcoming the inefficiencies caused by serious aerosol pollution and the high urbanization rate. We also find rooftop PV plants have the highest efficiencies among the four types of PV plants due to very little power loss. However, complementary PV plants have the lowest efficiencies most likely because of high operating temperatures during the process of power generation.

Explore further

More information: https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072551 (registering DOI)

Journal reference: Sustainability 2018

Provided by:  © 1996-2018 MDPI

Please follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and subscribe to our website and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s