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Centre for Integrated Energy Research

11th Photovoltaic Science, Applications and Technology Conference (PVSAT-11)

This 3-day conference was held at The University of Leeds from 15th-17th April 2015. Dr Rolf Crook was the local organiser and Prof William Gale opened the conference. James Gooding and Ross Jarrett contributed a talk and poster respectively, while Niamh Ryall, Chris Smith, and Jamie Bright generously provided technical support. The following report was written by the conference chair, Nigel Mason.

Hosted and underwritten by the Solar Energy Society (UK), this was the 11th annual conference in the PVSAT series. The meeting attracted over 80 delegates keen to hear the scientific presentations given by the 8 guest and 30 contributory speakers and the 18 poster presentations. Many delegates remarked on the quality and content of the programme and the relaxed and inclusive nature of the meeting.

Dr Pierre Verlinden, VP and Chief Scientist at Trina Solar spoke about the research activity at the world’s largest solar PV manufacturer (2014) and the development of crystalline silicon solar cell architectures with increasing efficiency. Dr John Wohlgemuth from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) spoke of the challenges to improve the reliability and durability of PV modules and gave an insight into new product standards that are being developed by the international community.

In the field of thin film PV, Dr Jon Major (University of Liverpool) gave details of a new low-cost, not-toxic chloride treatment for the fabrication of CdTe solar cells and Mr Raymond Knappen (VDL Flow, Netherlands) described the development and operation of new roll-to-roll equipment for the atomic layer deposition of buffer layers for CIGS solar cells.

In CPV and OPV, Dr Tom Tibbits (Fraunhofer ISE, Germany) described the structure and fabrication of the world record 46% efficient concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cell developed at the Institute of Solar Energy in Freiburg, Germany and Prof James Durrant (Imperial College London) spoke of the challenges and opportunities in organic solar cells (OPV).

A hot topic for solar PV is the field of storage to delay the consumption of solar electricity to evenings where domestic demand is greater. Dr Matthias Kauer (Sharp Laboratories of Europe) described new battery storage and inverter products for residential PV systems and contrasted the differing system requirements in USA, Japan and Europe. Dr Rolf Crook (U Leeds) described a new method to synthetically generate minutely-resolved solar PV generation from hourly recorded weather observation data.

The Conference Dinner and Awards Presentation was held in the Great Hall at the University of Leeds and preceded by a drinks reception with live music from a student string quartet.The Best Paper was awarded to George Koutsourakis et al. (University of Loughborough) and the Best Poster was awarded to Annette Pressman et al. (University of Liverpool). An award for Best Student Poster, sponsored by the Institute of Physics: Materials and Characterisation Group, was presented to Vasil Stoichkov (University of Bangor).

Selected quality papers presented at the meeting have been submitted to the editors of either IET Renewable Power Generation (RPG) or Maney Publishing Materials Research and Innovation (MRI) for potential publication.

A small exhibition at the conference included exhibits by Bentham Instruments, Kurt J Lesker Company, IET Journals and Maney Publishing.

PVSAT-11 acknowledges with thanks the sponsorship provided by IET Journals, The Royal Society of Chemistry: Energy Sector, PV Crystalox, SHARP and Maney Publishing. PVSAT-11 also acknowledges the bursaries from SuperGen, SuperSolar and the University of Leeds to sponsor fifteen free student tickets.

PVSAT-12 will be held at the University of Liverpool from 6th-8th April 2016.