A consortium of UK universities has launched an advanced solar power project aimed at developing printed photovoltaic cells and new manufacturing processes which can be used to power solar houses in remote villages in India.
The Swansea University-led ‘SUNRISE’ solar project has been developing technologies to turn buildings into power stations.
One of its key aims is to provide a real-life example which proves that this technology works and that it is appropriate within remote communities.
The plan is that it will encourage local industries to manufacture affordable prefabricated buildings, adapted for their environment, that can generate, store and release their own power and run off-grid.
The technologies are being exported to support India’s plans to boost solar energy,.
“The Swansea team are working closely with our partner universities in the UK and India. Our hope is that if we can show this works on five villages in India, then it could be rolled out to other buildings in India and around the world,” said Dave Worsley, project leader at Swansea University.
The project is in line with Indian government’s plans to turn the country into a solar energy leader, leap-frogging fossil fuels and to boost the Indian manufacturing sector.
The team’s concept of a building as a power station has been working in the form of its first energy-positive classroom on the Swansea University Bay campus. Electricity is generated by a steel roof with integrated solar cells. The classroom can run off grid..
Some of the other universities which are part of the consortium include Oxford, Cambridge, Brunel and Imperial College London. The project is part funded by a grant from the UK government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which supports cutting-edge research that addresses the global issues faced by developing countries.