5.11 Economics, environmental impact and integration
The costs of using PV technology go beyond those of the manufacture of modular arrays of solar cells. A simple formula relating investment to return would require a detailed knowledge of any subsidies and charges associated with PV electricity.
All manufacturing processes have some environmental impact. As the main reason for the implementation of PV is to reduce the environmental impact of energy generation, it is crucial that the benefits outweigh the impact of manufacture.
In the large-scale implementation of PV and other renewable energy systems other factors such as the impact on the infrastructure of the national supply grid have to be considered. A grid that relies heavily on erratic, renewable sources will need special measures to keep it stable.