Innovative pathways to accelerate the solar energy revolution: an Australian perspective

A rapid transition to renewable energy sources is essential in order to curtail the harmful impacts of climate change. In the case of solar photovoltaics (PV), primary drivers to spur increased adoption and enhance accessibility are to lower the cost per watt of solar products and to expand the technology to applications beyond traditional panels.

While improving the energy conversion efficiency of PV technology has been the focus of research traditionally, this is now expected to provide more limited returns as devices approach their theoretical efficiency limits. This talk will explore a selection of alternative pathways towards accelerating PV uptake, including using microwave technology to improve solar module manufacturing and recycling, and the development of energy generating windows based on luminescent solar concentrators.

The presentation will showcase some of the latest research from Macquarie University’s Photovoltaics Research group as well as broader insights into recent industry trends and innovations taking place in Australia.

Short biography of the speaker:
Dr David Payne is a Senior Lecturer and the head of the Photovoltaics and Optical Characterisation Lab in the School of Engineering at Macquarie University. His primary field of expertise is silicon photovoltaics, with a view towards lowering the cost and increasing the efficiency of solar cells to accelerate the uptake of sustainable and clean energy production.

He has led several large collaborative research projects in partnership with major solar industrial manufacturers such as Hanwha Q Cells and Canadian Solar. His research background includes nanophotonics and light-trapping, silicon defect mitigation, scientific tool development, and advanced optical characterisation and simulation. Prior to joining Macquarie, Dr Payne received his PhD from the University of Southampton in 2014 and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering at the University of New South Wales.