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Can Wales become a Leader in Solar Technology?

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Professor Stuart Irvine, the Director of SPARC II – a project that aims to build research capacity in solar photovoltaic research, has described the venture as “a new generation of PV technology”. But what exactly is SPARC II and has it been a success thus far?

Stuart sat down with Business News Wales to tell us more about the project.

Listen to the interview below.

 He spoke in more detail about the research project and said:

“It’s a consortium of six research groups across three universities in Wales and the main objective is to build a research capacity in solar energy technology in Wales.”

He describes the new EU extension funding of £2.5 million as “vitally important” because of the uncertainty with Brexit and the pandemic. The two-year extension will help build “long-term stability and success.”

Detailing a plan for the funding, Stuart said that the extension will enable the team to expand this research capability to take on new challenges such as new solar technology to charge electric vehicles, power remote sensors and enable a new generation of more efficient solar conversion devices.

SPARC has already been running for five years, with a £7.2 million budget. This new funding, from the European Regional Development Fund, will allow the work to be extended – as SPARC II – until March 2023.

SPARC’s aim is to build research capacity in solar photovoltaic technology, which is indispensable in moving towards a low-carbon green economy. Its research focuses on new applications, including mobile products, aircraft and the space industry.

The programme helps unlock further inward investment to Wales through additional large-scale research and development with multinational companies and specialist manufacturers.

Welsh businesses in the solar energy industry also benefit from manufacturing opportunities and access to the world-class research and expertise being developed at universities in Wales.

This Swansea University project is certainly one to watch in the future!