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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K022229/1
Title: Whole System Impacts and Socio-economics of wide scale PV integration (WISE PV)
Principal Investigator: Mutale, Dr J
Other Investigators:
Shuttleworth, Dr R Thornley, Professor EP Rowley, Dr PN
Hamilton, Professor B Mander, Dr SL Gilbert, Dr P J
Buckley, Dr A R Ochoa, Professor LF Mancarella, Professor P
Azzopardi, Professor B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
CarbonCo-op Cenex Electricity North West
National Grid Nottingham City Council Scottish Power
Wigan & Leigh Housing Company Ltd
Department: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2013 Ends: 31 March 2017 Value (£): 1,139,185
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Jan 2013 SUPERGEN Solar Energy Challenges Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project is associated with the EPSRC Solar Energy Hub. It sets out the scientific, technical and socio-economic grand challenge of wide scale integration of photovoltaic systems (PV) into electric power systems with particular focus on the UK. This challenge is interdisciplinary and the research required to address it requires a range of interdisciplinary skills. The academic team comprises internationally recognised experts in electrical power systems, social sciences, environmental and techno-economic assessment, PV materials and devices from the Universities of Manchester, Sheffield, Loughborough and Oxford Brookes.

Solar PV plays a modest role in the UK Pathways to 2050 articulated by DECC. Although the Government's feed-in tariff programme has led to a total PV installed capacity (for up to 50kW installations) exceeding 1.2GW, equivalent to 1.6% of the total installed generation capacity in Great Britain, its current trend falls short from the DECC trajectories. To enhance the role of PV this research examines the UK electricity system of 2050, including generation sources and networks, in which solar PV is assumed to play a significant role. It aims to investigate the drivers and opportunities to facilitate an increase in the role of solar energy in the UK energy futures. It will develop a range of future energy scenarios out to 2050. The energy scenarios will be informed and driven by PV stakeholders' (customers, developers, policy advisors, material scientists) perceptions and perspectives of solar PV as a serious player in energy supply in the UK. The proposal also has a wider interest in solar PV on a global scale with particular focus on the role that UK industry could play in providing innovative PV technologies to lead global uptake of solar PV. In the move to decarbonise electricity supply globally, it is likely that more and more reliance will have to be placed on renewable energy sources, with solar PV playing a major role. Harnessing this ubiquitous resource in a manner that ensures it delivers carbon savings in a cost-effective and efficient manner remains one of the key challenges to its widespread adoption as a serious contender in global energy supply.

This project will evaluate with key stakeholders their vision of the "PV future", and via the construction of potential future PV scenarios, will result in a comparative analysis of the impacts and benefits of these futures, taking into account:

(i) The greenhouse gas savings and wider environmental impacts of the PV implementation

(ii) Life cycle assessment of costs of implementation from the perspective of different stakeholders such as utilities, government, users

(iii) The infrastructure and energy systems implications of implementation

(iv) The socio-economic impacts of implementation, including on fuel poverty, job creation etc

We propose the investigation and articulation of the changes in power system design and operation to accommodate wide scale penetration of PV.

This project aims to maximize the contribution of PV to UK renewable energy and carbon reduction targets by strategically assessing the systems level challenges that are encountered with adventurous levels of PV penetration in the UK energy system. The expertise of the group will evaluate the challenges: (i) for the electrical system (ii) for material/resource availability (iii) of cost reduction (iv) of maximizing life-cycle carbon reductions (v) of delivering social benefits

The work will therefore go beyond the idea of optimizing to make solar energy more cost competitive; considering instead the whole-life cycle sustainability (economic, environmental and social) of different PV options, how they could be accommodated in the evolving UK energy system and identifying relevant barriers and obstacles at an early stage. This requires engagement with scientists in the hub, DNO's, regulators and manufacturers, but also with existing and potential PV users.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk