Solar PV

Project Aims

  • Accelerate research in photovoltaic (PV) materials for solar energy conversion, towards new low-cost PV modules
  • By exploring dye sensitised solar cells (DSSC) & thin film inorganic materials
  • By addressing the power electronics for extracting power from the modules, via DC/AC inverters, smart metering & control systems
  • Make Wales a world leader in the production of new aspects of low cost thin film photovoltaics

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.

Research Areas

  • New thin film PV technology is the base for test modules to be installed at test locations throughout Wales
  • Larger test modules will be developed, with combinations of organic and inorganic materials
  • Development of dye sensitised solar cell (DSSC) technology on flexible substrates: will improve substrate manufacture, focussing on barrier coatings, rapid processing of nano-porous titania & new dyes
  • Working closely with industrial partners: Tata & Dysol on large industrial applications; G24i on off-grid systems
  • The power electronics systems work: developing/testing high efficiency PV inverters to convert the DC produced from PV to AC
  • Smart metering systems: to monitor/ control the new PV modules, to maximise power & help consumers best use the generated electricity

Case Study: Hydro Industries
SPARC’s Swansea team have been working with Hydro Industries, a company specialising in electro-chemical water treatment, to revolutionise the way they power their equipment. Hydro Industries is based in one of the biggest solar energy parks in the UK, just outside of Llanelli, and was formed i... (read more)
Case Study: SPARC In-Line System
LCRI’s Dr Vincent Barrioz is a member of the SPARC team based in the Centre for Solar Energy Research with Glyndŵr University. He specialises in researching innovations in thin film solar photovoltaics. A Thin Film PV (photovoltaic) cell is made up of a substrate –for example, a sheet of gl... (read more)

PV Solar Panel

Solar House

Solar Wall

Contact Details

Key contact:

Professor Stuart Irvine
Centre for Solar Energy Research (CSER), Glyndwr University

Web address: www.cser.org.uk

Solar PV staff