Solar radiation, whether used directly in a thermal system, converted to electricity via photovoltaic cells or converted in one of the concentrator technologies holds the promise of clean and almost limitless energy. While having a global applicability in one form or another it is particularly attractive to a number of under developed regions that have significant levels of sunshine but suffer energy and poverty.
Increasing the efficiency of PV cells is a key driver. However, there are also a number of significant challenges across the manufacture, long-term reliability and maintainability of PV systems. Pressure in on module manufacturers to optimise production and so reduce costs without compromising the integrity and performance of the system.
TWI provides a unique combination of materials science, fabrication and joining expertise under one roof. This knowledge spans every aspect of PV systems from micro-joining and thermal management of highly sensitive electronic components through innovative approaches to building and sealing module frames to anti-reflective coatings for module faces.
The support provided by TWI helps manufacturers achieve higher productivity at an assured quality. In addition, in-service life is extended through higher reliability of both electronic and mechanical components while increased efficiency is promoted by novel surface engineering solutions.
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