Our research

The WISE-PV Project aims to investigate the drivers and opportunities to facilitate an increase in the role of solar energy in the UK energy futures. It will develop a range of future energy scenarios out to 2050.

The energy scenarios will be informed and driven by PV stakeholders' (customers, developers, policy advisors, material scientists) perceptions and perspectives of solar PV as a serious player in energy supply in the UK.

The proposal also focuses on the role that UK industry could play in providing innovative PV technologies to lead global uptake of solar PV. In the move to decarbonise electricity supply globally, it is likely that more and more reliance will have to be placed on renewable energy sources, with solar PV playing a major role. Harnessing this ubiquitous resource in a manner that ensures it delivers carbon savings in a cost-effective and efficient manner remains one of the key challenges to its widespread adoption as a serious contender in global energy supply.

This project will evaluate with key stakeholders their vision of the "PV future", and via the construction of potential future PV scenarios, will result in a comparative analysis of the impacts and benefits of these futures, taking into account:

  1. The greenhouse gas savings and wider environmental impacts of the PV implementation;
  2. Life cycle assessment of costs of implementation from the perspective of different stakeholders such as utilities, government, users;
  3. The infrastructure and energy systems implications of implementation;
  4. The socio-economic impacts of implementation, including on fuel poverty, job creation etc.

We propose the investigation and articulation of the changes in power system design and operation to accommodate wide scale penetration of PV.

This project aims to maximize the contribution of PV to UK renewable energy and carbon reduction targets by strategically assessing the systems level challenges that are encountered with adventurous levels of PV penetration in the UK energy system.

The expertise of the group will evaluate the challenges for:

  • the electrical system 
  • material/resource availability 
  • cost reduction 
  • maximizing life-cycle carbon reductions
  • delivering social benefits

The work will therefore go beyond the idea of optimizing to make solar energy more cost competitive; considering instead the whole-life cycle sustainability (economic, environmental and social) of different PV options, how they could be accommodated in the evolving UK energy system and identifying relevant barriers and obstacles at an early stage. This requires engagement with scientists in the hub, DNO's, regulators and manufacturers, but also with existing and potential PV users.

Did you know?

The energy received by the planet from the sun in just one hour is more than that used by the entire world population in a year.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about any aspect of our research, please contact Dr Joseph Mutale


Email: j.mutale@manchester.ac.uk

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