India, Britain collaborate to make next-gen solar cells

A team of researchers from Britain and India has kicked off a project to develop the next-generation photovoltaics (PV) in the country with the aim to have mobile labs that can manufacture these devices at a lower cost.

The 8 million pound Strategic University Network to Revolutionise Indian Solar Energy (SUNRISE) project is powered by the Global Challenges Research Fund to rapidly accelerate and prove low cost printed PV and tandem solar cells for use in off grid Indian communities within the lifetime of the project (October 1, 2017 to December 31, 2021).

One of the project investigators, Matthew Davies of Britain’s Swansea University told IANS: “We need to catalyse interest in scientific research in India to help this project.”
“We hope to have labs in India… mobile labs that can make these devices so they are very cheap to make and they are easy (to make) so in future we hope to develop a route where we have a factory (in the lorry essentially) where we can make PVs.”

The Indian partners include IIT Delhi, NPL Delhi, CSIR Hydrabad, IISER Pune and IIT Kanpur.

“We want to develop the use of the next-gen photovoltaic materials in India. So we are looking to develop buildings as power stations that means that your house, the building envelope, becomes the material with which you generate the electricity. That may involve, especially in India, photovoltaics on the roof,” Davies said.

To enable the manufacturing of next-gen technologies in India, the strategy is to set up graduate programmes in the respective areas.

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