A Swansea University-led project which will help communities in developing countries to generate their own solar power has been awarded £800,000 by the UK government. The money will be used to construct prototype buildings and support collaboration between experts from five countries – India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, South Africa, and the UK.

While perovskite solar cells should be cheap to produce, use widely-available materials and be flexible with the ability to be printed directly onto a base, the task taken on is to show that this technology can be manufactured and used effectively on actual buildings in developing countries. This is where the SUNRISE project and this new funding comes in.

The SUNRISE team already includes 12 partner universities in the UK and India. Now, thanks to this funding, they will be able to expand their work by:

Constructing two “demonstrator” buildings in India – as with the Active Buildings on Swansea University campus, which generate, store and release their own power, the aim is to test the technology and show it works

Extending the network of experts to include researchers from Kazakhstan, Mexico and South Africa – they will spend a year at Swansea University learning from each other about how best to bring this technology to market

Dr. Adrian Walters from the SUNRISE project said: “Our research is about putting clean, affordable and reliable power into the hands of local communities. The funding means we can build not just expertise but actual buildings, which will show whether perovskite solar cells can be produced at commercially viable scale and cost... If this goal is achieved, it will present a global opportunity to address climate change and pollution issues associated with conventional power generation.”

The £800,000 funding for the Swansea-led project comes from the UKRI GCRF Global Research Translation Awards.