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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T01556X/1
Title: Power to the People: Democratising energy through decentralised manufacture and production of affordable, reliable, sustainable solar power
Principal Investigator: Worsley, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: College of Engineering
Organisation: Swansea University
Scheme: UKRI
Starts: 01 October 2019 Ends: 31 March 2021 Value (£): 808,236
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
14 Aug 2019 GCRF GRTA Panel19 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
A programme of GRTA activity is proposed that will demonstrate the democratisation of energy. Through decentralising the manufacture and deployment of affordable, reliable solar power into the hands of local communities, novel models of public participation and local energy ownership can be explored through the creation of new actors such as prosumers, renewable energy co-operatives and community owned power generation.

SUNRISE, a £6.5M GCRF project, is growing research capability in the UK and India in the field of next generation solar energy systems that are affordable, reliable and sustainable. As such, SUNRISE partners form the core team assembled to respond to this GRTA call. This core is enhanced through the addition of other relevant collaborators from the DAC listed countries of Mexico, Kazakhstan and South Africa.

The transdisciplinary consortium comprises a combination of technical, commercial and socio-economic expertise and resources. As such, the group is ideally positioned to exploit the opportunity presented by a new, disruptive, solution processable (printed) solar energy technology - the perovskite solar cell (the underlying GCRF research). Due to the low capital equipment costs and use of earth abundant materials, perovskite technology has the potential to deliver locally manufactured, affordable, reliable, sustainable modern energy solutions for the climatic and socio-economic contexts in developing countries.

Solution processable PV materials, which can be applied as an ink using printing and coating processes, present a very viable alternative to the currently established PV technologies.

Perovskite solar energy devices offer not only significant advantages in manufacturing and capital costs, but also in their application onto flexible substrates and direct integration into vehicles and buildings without excessive weight implications. Historically, the main disadvantage for printed PV has been the efficiency, which for Dye Sensitised Cells DSC) and Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) technologies have struggled to exceed 12%, making the potential collectors quite large. However, a new technology recently developed in the UK, the Perovskite Solar Cell (PSC), has now exceeded all previous attempts to develop a solution processed PV.

The performance of PSC lab devices has now reached over 23% representing a step change in performance for new 3rd generation solar cells. At present the deposition of this exciting technology can be achieved on glass or flexible plastic materials, however this capability is yet to transfer at any significant level to module prototyping and fabrication, such as that contemplated by the technical aspects of this project.

As such, the GRTA funding will be used to accelerate:

+ Delivery of 'at-scale' building technology demonstrators, translating research into practical application

+ Growth of global academic, commercial, NGO and government collaborations through a cohort of International Transdisciplinary Knowledge Transfer Fellows

+ Commercialisation of substantial relevant IPR and know-how in the solar energy space

Given the imperatives of the 'energy trilemma' global challenge (SDG7 - security, equity and sustainability), it is now timely to engage in the translational work needed to demonstrate perovskite photovoltaic technologies can be produced at commercially viable scale and cost. If this goal is achieved, it will present a global opportunity to address climate change in an equitable and sustainable manner.

MIT Energy Initiative: "solar energy holds the best potential for meeting humanity's future long-term energy needs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions - but to realize this potential will require increased emphasis on developing lower cost technologies and more effective deployment policy".

In just one hour the Earth receives enough solar energy from the Sun to power the whole of the world economy for a year!
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.swan.ac.uk