Solar energy is one of the technologies which holds the greatest potential for generating large amounts of useful electricity across the world. In recent years the deployment of conventional silicon based solar PV has grown exponentially and costs have fallen considerably. However, for novel applications such as flexible solar PV and non Si based PV new solar technologies have great potential.
The UK has considerable academic strength in solar energy research and has a recognised lead in thin film and dye sensitized PV, in addition we have capability in direct solar energy conversion into liquid or gaseous fuels.
In this context Solar energy research includes the research and development of devices to harness incident solar radiation and conversion to other vectors or direct use. This includes solar heating/cooling, direct conversion of solar energy to fuels and all PV technologies.
Proposals are invited for focused centres under this priority area only and are expected to include a level of industry involvement. It is up to the applicant to justify the level of industry involvement in their proposal. In order to link excellence in training with excellence in research, proposals are expected to link with EPSRC's large research investments in this area, such as the SUPERGEN Solar Energy Hub, and to provide details as to how they plan to do this.
Any centre and its students are also expected to network with others addressing the energy challenge through the energy CDT network, appropriate resources should be requested to enable this.