Vulnerability of solar energy infrastructure and output to climate change

Anthony Patt*, Stefan Pfenninger, Johan Lilliestam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reviews the potential vulnerability of solar energy systems to future extreme event risks as a consequence of climate change. We describe the three main technologies likely to be used to harness sunlight-thermal heating, photovoltaic (PV), and concentrating solar power (CSP)-and identify critical climate vulnerabilities for each one. We then compare these vulnerabilities with assessments of future changes in mean conditions and extreme event risk levels. We do not identify any vulnerabilities severe enough to halt development of any of the technologies mentioned, although we do find a potential value in exploring options for making PV cells more heat-resilient and for improving the design of cooling systems for CSP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


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