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In the United States, there is no systematic movement to set up a photovoltaics (PV) recycling infrastructure as of now. Like any other end-of-life planning, it is vital to develop and institute economically feasible and environmentally viable recycling infrastructure for the emerging PV industry in parallel with the rapid commercialization of these new technologies. PV recycling planning includes various challenging issues in temporal, spatial, and technical dimension. Various stakeholders will be involved in the recycling network and the issue of management covers diverse aspects such as the collection, distribution, inventory, and reclaiming of materials. Within such a complex recycling network, a systematic approach has to be adopted to adequately capture the dynamic interactions between stakeholders. The main objective of this study is to develop a rigorous mathematical framework, with which to analyze the economic feasibility of PV recycling systems in the United States. California is selected as the geographical location of this study because of the prevalence of PV installation as well as the strict environmental regulation in the region. There are four main steps of research performed: 1) Information about the location of all the PV installation sites in the state of California along with the location of stakeholders involved in the proposed recycling framework are gathered, 2) Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tool boxes are utilize to locate the feasible location of PV recycling centers for various scenarios, 3) total system costs and environmental emissions generated from diverse PV recycling scenarios are compared, 4) economic and environmental trade-off analysis are performed to assist optimized decision making processes. The outcome of this research will facilitate systems analyses for planning of state and national recycling programs for various kinds of PV modules. The general framework developed by the proposed research will allow an efficient decision making on the conservation of natural resources and the mitigation of environmental emission.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Jun-Ki Choi

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


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