What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is an endless supply of power from the sun, harnessed through the use of technology.  One of the most common technologies are solar panels and “photo-voltaics” (PV).

Why is it important?

  • Solar energy is an inexhaustible and clean energy source.
  • The cost of solar PV panels has fallen substantially. In some countries, the price is almost the same as electricity from coal and gas power stations.
  • The International Energy Agency predicts that solar PV could generate up to 16% of the world’s electricity by 2050.

Our expertise & activities

  • Our Sheffield Solar Farm is a 58m2 solar panel test bed used to demonstrate and test new and established solar technologies, including PV panels, inverters and batteries.
  • We host the UK’s biggest independent database of solar PV installations – over 6,000 across the UK.
  • We are part of the UK’s only national training centre for PhDs on solar energy.
  • We have one of the UK’s largest research groups developing organic photovoltaic devices.

Detailed research areas

  • Developing cost effective photovoltaic devices.
  • Applying the knowledge gained from studies of natural photosynthesis to the fabrication of biologically based devices for capturing solar energy.
  • Development of organic semiconductors for application in photovoltaic devices.
  • Perovskite and spray-painted solar cells.
  • Systems level research on PV and energy at community, commercial and domestic “microgeneration” level.

Key people (A-Z)

Dr Alastair Buckley
Lecturer in Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Dr Alan Dunbar
Senior Lecturer in Energy, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Dr. Ahmed Iraqi
Reader in Polymer Chemistry, Department of Chemistry

Prof. David Lidzey
Professor of Physics, Principle Investigator, Solar Energy in Future Societies
Director, Electronic and Photonic Molecular Materials group

Prof. Tony Ryan
Pro-vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Science
Professor of Physical Chemistry
Project Sunshine Director

Prof. Robertus Von-Fey Siebenburgen
Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics

Dr Matt Watson
Solar Energy in Future Societies
Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Department of Geography

Dr. Julia Weinstein
Reader in Physical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry


For more information please contact Alastair Buckley.