UK-led project explores PV module production in Africa, Asia, Indo-Pacific

Universities and businesses from the United Kingdom, Africa, Asia, and the Indo-Pacific are assessing the potential to set up sustainable PV module manufacturing hubs across the Global South.

A project led by Swansea University in the United Kingdom is exploring the potential of countries in Africa, Asia and the Indo-Pacific to set up manufacturing hubs for low-cost PV modules.

TEA at SUNRISE is a collaboration between Swansea University’s SUNRISE network, an international project developing solar technologies to address energy poverty, and the UK government-funded Transforming Energy Access (TEA) platform.

The SUNRISE project has already established relationships in Africa and India, helping to locally develop and deploy solar technologies. TEA at SUNRISE will build on this work, with the aim of identifying the advantages of next-generation solar technologies across the Global South.

An emphasis will be placed on ensuring technologies are designed for a circular economy to limit waste and the use of critical materials. The team behind the project says the next generation of solar materials offers “a unique opportunity to design for ease of re-use and re-manufacture from the outset, with local manufacturing not only reducing logistics costs but also generating jobs and utilising lower-carbon sources of energy.”

“In pursuing a just energy transition, these new technologies can play a pivotal role in ensuring energy access is delivered equitably, free of the environmental and ethical issues associated with current PV manufacturing,” said project lead Mark Spratt.

Iain Meager, director of innovation at the Carbon Trust, said that by joining forces with local stakeholders in Africa, Asia and the Indo-Pacific, TEA at SUNRISE will “bolster the knowledge exchange and learning necessary to accelerate the scale of sustainable photovoltaic manufacturing at a local level.”

“This will not only help foster economic development but also reduce the environmental impact of PV production,” he added. “Collaboration is crucial to accelerating a just and inclusive clean energy transition.”

Last year, the International Energy Agency predicted that global solar PV manufacturing capacity is set to nearly double in 2024, reaching almost 1 TW.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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