NSF IRES: U.S.-Australia Innovations of Solar Materials and Solar Cells


Project Description

This International Research Experience for Students (IRES) site will provide the platform for five U.S. undergraduate students per year, beginning in 2023) at The University of Alabama (UA) to learn the cutting edge innovative solar technology from a world-class research institute, at the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) in The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney, Australia). Solar energy represents the richest renewable energy source in the world. Converting solar energy to other types of energy (e.g. electricity and chemical fuel energy) for use by human society has attracted intense research in both academia and industry to address the increased energy crisis and environmental issues from greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve solar energy goals, it is necessary to improve the solar cells’ power conversion efficiency and reduce the device degradation to increase the solar modules’ lifetime. An increased workforce is needed to work in solar research to investigate the new solar materials and solar devices to achieve higher efficiency and longer solar module lifetime. This IRES site will inspire undergraduate students at UA to pursue a higher graduate degree and future career in the solar and other renewable energy industries. The evaluation provided by ISSR includes formative and summative components and focuses on the impact of the research experience on students’ development of research skills, interests in further research on solar technology, and post baccalaureate plans.