Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Welsh researchers pursue advanced PV technology

Nano scale lenses, reclaimed silicon wafers and low cost inks are at the heart of a Welsh project to produce photovoltaic (PV) panels that are dramatically more efficient than standard PV cells.

The low cost photovoltaic panels capable of producing 20 times more power than standard cells are under development in Wales and could cut the financial payback time from 10 years to just 12 months.

Novel nano-materials and advanced manufacturing processes will be utilised to create a clean and affordable energy supply using reclaimed silicon integrated into a low cost Concentrating PV (CVP) panel that intensifies the light focussed on to the cells, generating more power.

Rather than trying to increase the efficiency of PV cells through a complex and expensive process, the aim is to increase the intensity of light that hits the cell using low cost nano scale lenses.

The use of reclaimed silicon wafers will dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of the PV modules.

The inks used for electrical contacts can make up almost 30% of solar cell manufacturing costs and GEM will develop lower-cost inks with optimised electrical performance for concentration.

The collaborative industrial research project by Swansea University, Swansea based Pure Wafer Solar and Gwent Electronic Materials (GEM) aims to have a full scale pilot production line up and running within 18 months.

The intention is then to set up a manufacturing facility capable of processing more than 2MW per annum – enough to generate power for more than 1,000 homes.

It currently takes about 10 years to recoup the cost of installing a PV system but the short financial payback and the low cost of these panels will make it economically attractive for businesses and investors.

The Welsh Government Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) programme is backing the innovative industrial collaboration.

A4B is EU funded and supports highly innovative collaborative R&D projects between academia and industry to bring new high value products and processes to the market.

It is hoped that support from A4B will ensure the rapid transfer of technology from the lab to the production line.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.