Solar energy is a renewable resource that can be captured using Photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. Energy is generated as a result of the direct conversion of light energy from the sun into electrical energy. PV modules can be mounted in the roof or façade fabric of a building, generating electricity at the point of use with zero carbon emissions. The solar energy resource in Wales is more than sufficient to meet energy needs with between 2.6 and 2.8 TWh of solar energy falling on just 1km2 per year. Estimates of achievable solar electricity generation rates would provide 20% of Wales’ total electricity needs by 2050.
Wales is increasing its reputation as a manufacturing centre for PV solar energy. However, adoption of PV solar energy in Wales is still at a low level. There is an increasing need to improve awareness and training for Wales to keep pace with the global surge in PV. The challenge for LCRI is to make PV solar energy more affordable by researching new low cost materials and innovative devices that reduce the amount of relatively high cost semiconductor materials while improving conversion efficiency.