Solar energy research centre to put Wales at forefront of solar industry

Please note, this page has been archived and is no longer being updated.

A new, world-class solar energy research centre to support the growth of the solar industry in Wales, and headed by one of the world’s pre-eminent solar energy research scientist, has been launched today by Swansea University after being awarded £6 million from the Welsh Government’s Sêr Cymru programme.

Ser Cymru launchEdwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport has welcomed Professor James Durrant from Imperial College London, as the Sêr Cymru Solar Energy Research Chair who will lead the new Sêr Solar initiative based alongside Swansea University’s SPECIFIC  at the Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC), Baglan Energy Park.

The  Sêr Solar initiative is funded as part of Sêr Cymru programme which is the Welsh Government’s £50 million programme designed to enhance research capability in Wales by attracting world leading scholars and their teams to Wales. 

Pictured: Professor James Durrant, Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport and Chris Weirman, Engineering Manager at the Ser Solar facility.

Researchers from Imperial College London, which is home to the UK’s largest research group dedicated to the development of new solar technologies, and including leading solar energy researcher Professor Jenny Nelson, will join with Welsh researchers to form the research centre which will be led by Swansea University and includes Bangor University and the Welsh School of Architecture.

New staff appointments at the University will create a world leading capability in scalable solar energy technologies.

The overall aim of the Sêr Cymru Solar team is to create a solar energy research centre to deliver world leading scientific research and to support the growth of new solar industry in Wales.

The Sêr Cymru Solar team is expected to work closely with the SPECIFIC project.  SPECIFIC will use the pilot line facility to scale up research ideas to make and develop scalable solar applications with a view to creating clean, green high value products of a global standard. This collaboration between academia, industry, research and students will progress the research from the laboratory bench to the factory floor and will pave the way for rapid commercialisation and the creation of a major UK industry.

‎Solar energy has been recognised as being a practically limitless source of energy for the future, with the solar energy incident on the planet in one day being enough to power our energy needs for the next quarter of a century.

Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, said: “I am very pleased to welcome Professor Durrant to Wales and Swansea University, where his experience and knowledge will help create a world class research team in the field of solar energy.

“The Ser Cymru programme is helping us deliver our commitment to developing science and innovation in Wales, which as an important driver in economic growth. This research in the field of Low carbon energy will also help us meet our commitments to reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change.”

‌Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, Professor Julie Williams said: “I am delighted to see the second appointment under the Ser Cymru programme. Professor Durrant has an international reputation for research excellence and a wealth of experience in his field and I look forward to seeing him build a world class research team at Swansea University.”

Ser Cymru launchProfessor Durrant said: “Solar energy is already big business, with over $140 billion invested globally last year. This investment by the Welsh government offers a fantastic opportunity to accelerate the pipeline from materials discovery through to commercial manufacture, and thus put Wales, and the UK, at the heart of the growing solar revolution.”

Professor Dave Worsley, Research Director of the SPECIFIC project said: “This is the first step in creating a world leading research group in solar energy and scale up.”

Pictured: Professor Jenny Nelson, Imperial College; Professor Richard B Davies, Vice Chancellor of Swansea University; Professor David Worsley, Swansea University; Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport; Professor James Durrant, Imperial College and Professor Julie Williams, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Welsh Government.