Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Systems Engineering


Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Manbir S. Sodhi


Solar energy provided by photovoltaic (PV) panels experiences significant and continuous growth and makes solar energy a major contributor to renewable and sustainable energy worldwide. However, there are always two sides to the coin. A proper end-of-life management for PV panels is crucial to keep solar energy sustainable and environmentally conscious. This thesis investigates second-life potentials for used PV panels and supports that idea by analyzing reasons for skyrocketing amounts of discarded PV panels.

First of all, basic knowledge about PV panels is provided. Afterward, the solar energy market in the U.S., and especially New England, is analyzed, and current recycling or disposal strategies are stated. Next, it is demonstrated how recent trends of costs and innovations in the case of PV panels could lead to economic considerations about PV panel replacements before reaching their technical end-of-life. A break-even analysis for the replacement is reported. Furthermore, experiments with used PV panels are conducted to investigate the sectioning of PV panels, and a particular second-life use case is proposed. Finally, a mathematical optimization model is programmed to find cutting strategies for the cutting of PV panels.



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