Strategic University Network to Revolutionise Indian Solar Energy (SUNRISE)

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Engineering


In November 2016 the UK Government mounted a technical trade mission to India. During this visit the delegation witnessed some of the worst aerial pollution in Delhi's history. At times the air quality was contaminated with 999 mg per cubic metre of particulates almost five times the emission consent of an iron making coke oven! India will be the World's largest economy potentially as early as 2030 requiring a total transformation in energy generation. At the Trade summit Prime Minister Modi detailed a vision for India to leapfrog other countries reliance on fossil fuels harnessing global science implemented locally. As such the timing of SUNRISE could not be better.
SUNRISE is an ambitious programme to rapidly accelerate and prove low cost printed PV and tandem solar cells for use in off grid Indian communities within the lifetime of the project. SUNRISE will combine world leading UK research teams from Imperial (Durrant/Nelson), Cambridge (Friend), Oxford (Snaith) a key Indo UK research leader (Uppadaya at Brunel) with an internationally leading photovoltaic scaling activity (SPECIFIC IKC at Swansea University (Worsley/Watson)) and key Indian institutions notably IIT Delhi (Dutta/Pathak), NPL Delhi (Chand, Gupta), CSIR Hydrabad (Giribabu, Narayan), IISER Pune (Ogale), IIT Kanpur (Garg, Gupta). The research impact of scaleable and stable low cost metal mounted PV products will be supported by technology demonstration at five off grid village communities (each of up to 20000 people). The EPSRC JUICE consortium will support the systems integration and electrical storage elements to create real technology demonstrators using local manufacturing supply chains (Tata Cleantech Capital and Tata Trust). In addition to electrical infrastructure the SUNRISE partnership includes activity on gasification of farming/crop wastes (a major cause of the incredible pollution in Delhi in November 2016) and the SPECIFIC IKC will support the practical on site demonstration of photocatalytic water purification using a linked programme with the Gates' Foundation. A key driver for this project is not only demonstration of technology in real demonstration sites but the creation of a legacy of better Indian Industry/Institution collaboration through the creation of an Industrial Doctorate programme modelled on the success of the UK EngD programme started by EPSRC in 1992 and pioneered at Swansea.

Planned Impact

The SUNRISE programme is ambitious and will have globally significant impacts. In addition, it builds upon long term collaborations introducing new partners and challenges that will create a sustainable research infrastructure centred in the UK but with key links to India which if successful can be rolled out to other growing economies in Africa and Asia. The solar technologies themselves if proven in India will also have global reach in particular as fossil fuel rich Arabic nations transition to a low carbon future. This project will leverage existing work on sanitation (at Swansea supported via Gates Foundation) and through the UK JUICE consortium on electrical integration and storage to deliver bespoke solutions for a variety of Indian population scenarios.

1: Academic: impact in academic terms will be through building research capacity and delivery capability in whole building and community demonstrators. The Indian teams will also benefit from adaptation of successful UK models for implementing and engaging company researchers through the challenge let Industrial Doctorates (mapping onto the UK EngD model) and through the creation of local 'Innovation Hubs' which can act as translational activities (akin to the UK IKCs)

2: Industrial: UK industry partners will gain the opportunity to showcase new technology on the first demonstrator (2017/8) in Jamshedpur and through contacts created via the Tata network. In addition, a key outcome will be the creation of local materials and manufacturing capability employing UK and Indian joint technology developments to allow for the production of ultra low cost prefabricated building components for generation, storage and release of energy.

3: Community: the aim of SUNRISE via the Tata Trusts is to identify and deliver a minimum five technology demonstrators at community and village level. As such the research outputs will potentially reach 100,000 people since the average small community grouping in rural India is of the order of 20k.

4: Global: key to the future growth success of India is harnessing alternative energy sources and this has global impact given India is likely to be the largest global economy by the 2030s. The use of solar energy generation and storage and critically the adoption of gasification plant for agricultural wastes will not only improve the Indian air quality but dramatically reduce the potential impact on climate change from industrialisation and growth.

5: EPSRC and ODA: Impact for EPSRC will come from the creation of globally leading research capabilities in printed PV and deployment of technology into buildings. For ODA the climate change effects, bringing energy to rural communities and creation of local supply chains are all key targets which SUNRISE will help deliver in an Indian context.


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Description Eight19 - stability and processing of organic solar cells 
Organisation Eight19
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution development of collaborative research funding applications
Collaborator Contribution development of collaborative research funding applications
Impact funding applications
Start Year 2017