Research into renewable energy sources (RES) is a top priority of the EU. Photovoltaic (PV) systems are expected to play a vital role in meeting RES electricity production targets in the EU, and particularly in countries with high irradiance resources such as Cyprus. This project brings together a world-class consortium of leading institutions in the field of PV to conduct advanced and much-needed research into the lifetime output and reliability of modern PV energy systems.
The project proposes to study the real outdoor performance of a number of crystalline, thin-film and concentrator PV (CPV) systems. Outdoor testing of a variety of PV technologies at the state-of-the-art University of Cyprus (UCY) PV park is already producing valuable information. However, a full performance analysis requires standardized laboratory tests against control modules to quantify the output degradation that occurs due to long-term environmental exposure. A key project objective is therefore to upgrade the existing UCY infrastructure to include high-quality facilities for indoor testing to IEC standards 61215 for crystalline PV, 61646 for thin-film PV, and 62108 for CPV. The main activities of the project are: upgrading the current infrastructure in collaboration with the experienced partner institutions; creating a fully-trained, multidisciplinary team of researchers to staff the laboratory and maintain a critical mass of personnel, ensuring continuity of operation; obtaining long-term outdoor performance data from the PV systems at the site; performing standardized tests upon these PV modules and their controls; developing advanced indoor test and rating methodologies for new PV technologies in collaboration with other research institutions. The major outcomes will be: a world-class facility in Cyprus for testing PV technologies to appropriate IEC standards and implementing ISO 17025:2005; a better understanding of the performance and reliability of PV systems under environmental conditions found in Cyprus, with general implications for the various technologies; improved testing and rating methodologies for CPV. Through the project, Cyprus will benefit from exploiting the urgent need for high quality laboratories in this field. This facility will make important contributions to the field of energy research and by providing wide access to such an infrastructure, both Cypriot and EU researchers will benefit from the investment. This will place Cyprus on the map of energy research, and further EU funding will be attracted by future projects emanating from this, creating opportunities for SMEs and skilled staff at the same time. It is estimated that by 2020 solar electricity could be provided to more than 1 billion people worldwide, creating more than 2 million jobs. This is clearly an area that Cyprus should have a direct involvement in.
The project was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and by the Republic of Cyprus with grant number ΑΝΑΒΑΘΜΙΣΗ/ΠΑΓΙΟ/0308/21.
A. Lectures and Seminars
Various invited seminars were organized at the University of Cyprus in the duration of the project:
A workshop involving distinguished guests was organized on the 9/11/12 at the University of Cyprus for public and private entities (general public, students, academics, professionals in the energy field, etc.). The workshop involved a tour in the facilities of the Photovoltaic Technology Laboratory which included 7 exhibition sessions, indoor and outdoor, presented by the doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows of the Laboratory. More than 100 people attended the tour and were informed of the research activities taking place at the PV Technology Laboratory. After the lab tour, the workshop guests proceeded to the main Auditorium in the University of Cyprus where presentations on the Status, Future and challenges of Photovoltaics in Cyprus were given by the invited speakers from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus, and other leading entities in energy in Cyprus. A discussion between the audience and the panel members followed.
C. Educational training sessions
A training workshop for photovoltaics (PV) took place in January 2013 at the PV Technologies Laboratory of UCY with special emphasis on the new equipment purchased through the infrastructure project. The photographs below show some activities at the PV laboratory during the training exercises.
D. Laboratory tours
More than 100 tours of the PV lab have taken place since the project started. These included tours for awareness and education purposes for schools from elementary to high school level, tours to professionals in the energy field and energy organizations (Cyprus Energy Agency, and others) for educational and collaboration purposes, tours to public bodies (municipality and governmental committees and groups) and the general public. Some photos from tours involving schools are shown below.