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PV Facility Design and Approaches to Water and Wastewater Treatment

By By Dana Brumley, P.E., and Ralph Williams, P.E.


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Editor’s note: Welcome to a technical article from our archives. This article by Dana Brumley and Ralph Williams appeared in our November 2010 issue of Ultrapure Water Journal. This article examines water and wastewater treatment issues faced by photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing plants


The need for alternate energy sources has driven a boom in the design and construction of photovoltaic (PV) facilities. As PV technologies are taken from research and development to full-scale manufacturing, these manufacturers are driven by the need to reduce facility cost in order increase the sustainability and viability of their products. The PV industry varies greatly in technology, substrates, and end products. As a result, there is minimal guidance on the performance and design requirements of process water and wastewater treatment systems.

Many PV manufacturers use processes and equipment similar to that of the microelectronics industry, but the actual wet processes can differ substantially with these emerging technologies. The purpose of this article is to discuss water and wastewater issues unique to PV manufacturing and how design can be approached in order to increase sustainability and lower facility cost.  

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