Our Solar Energy research group has been focused on developing affordable solar technologies and allied devices for many years to provide solutions to counter energy challenges and enable a sustainable future.
Key areas of interest include high-efficiency solar energy conversion and storage, low-cost photovoltaics, solar fuels, 3rd generation solar cells including optically integrated perovskite solar cells, biomimicry of solar technology and allied devices. The leading and emerging scientists in our team carry out interdisciplinary research on frontier issues, working alongside both national and international partners.
More recently, one of our teams saw the opportunity to create a spin-off company to develop some of their innovative ideas, and Build Solar was born.
Build Solar’s ‘Solar Squared’ solution addresses the issue of buildings consuming more than 40% of the world’s electricity. Their innovative active materials seamlessly integrate within building architecture providing clean energy at the point of consumption. Using vertical spaces within buildings they overcome the barriers associated with standard solar technology along with the aesthetic appeal.
Build Solar offers integrated, affordable, efficient, and attractive solutions that are part of the building’s architecture, in places where energy demand is highest, whilst having minimal impact on the landscape and quality of life.
Solar Squared is a glass block that generates electricity with greater cost-efficiencies. In fact, Solar Squared façade lifetime costs are lower than an equivalent glass block wall thanks to the benefit of free electricity generation and improved thermal insulation.
The aesthetic benefits are also clear. As well as negating the need for space-consuming banks of solar panels typically deployed on our rooftops, Solar Squared looks attractive, provides daylighting and is available in a variety of colours and patterns
Most importantly, Solar Squared blocks have intelligent optical devices that focus the incoming solar radiation onto small solar cells, enhancing the overall energy generated by each one. The electricity generated can power the building or any standalone infrastructure, be stored or used to charge electric vehicles.
By bringing together the latest solar technology and conventional construction materials, we’re also enabling access to new markets and creating many more opportunities to deploy solar technologies in urban environments.
Our scientists continue to explore and innovate the incredible interdisciplinary opportunities to develop affordable, sustainable solar technologies in partnership with key stakeholders around the world.