PHOTOVOLTAICS MODULE RESEARCH AT NMU

Solar panelsThe Photovoltaics Unit in the Department of Physics at the NMU is managed by Prof Ernest van Dyk, as Unit Head assisted by Dr Freddie Vorster, as Vice-head, and Ms Mariska Muller as Project Administrator.

The PV unit is part of the Photovoltaics Research Group (PVRG) with research activities based in the Department of Physics covering a wide range of topics, including:

  • PV materials and defect studies.
  • Solar cell and PV module characterisation.
  • Systems evaluation.

The PVRG strives to better understand:

  • Performance-limiting degradation and failure modes in PV devices.
  • The cause of premature failure in PV cells, complete modules and systems.
  • The root cause of non-functioning areas in newly manufactured PV cell material.
  • The effect of various types of cell damage on the degradation rate and failure of PV cells and modules - whether before or after long-term outdoor exposure.
  • The natural long-term degradation rate of normally functioning PV modules in small systems and utility-scale PV power plants.

The specific goals of this project are:

  • To undertake a detailed evaluation of PV devices and modules that may be deployed in remote applications.
  • To undertake a detailed study of various aspects of PV system design and performance in order to enable industry partners and collaborators to better utilise the resources available to them.
  • To develop human resources through the training of skilled graduates with expertise in the technical aspects of solar energy, for South Africa’s present and future needs.
  • To further develop the capabilities of the photovoltaic research facilities within the Department of Physics at Mandela University in order to benefit renewable energy users in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

 

The Photovoltaics Research Group is supported by Telkom. The project is also funded by the National Research Foundation and THRIP.

For further information on the Photovoltaics Research Group, please visit the Department of Physics webpages.

 

 

 

Contact information
Prof Ernest van Dyk
Professor
Tel: +27 41 5042259
evandyk@mandela.ac.za