National Physical Laboratory


Photovoltaics (PV) are semiconductor-based devices that convert light into electricity in a direct process. Promising new technologies need to demonstrate high performance, reliability and scalability of manufacture. The photovoltaics (PV) research team at NPL provides innovative solutions to the key measurement challenges that are presently limiting uptake of these technologies.

In parallel, consumers, governments and manufacturers need to have confidence in how much energy different PV technologies will generate under realistic operational conditions. NPL has been developing reliable data analysis and modelling capabilities to translate measured peak performance into energy yield, and working with partners within the IEC TC 82 to develop the next generation of international standards for PV technologies.

Photovoltaics research

NPL offers an advanced measurement and testing platform with the broad goal of supporting the development, competitiveness, and exploitation of photovoltaic technologies in the UK.

Our work is centred on four broad themes:

  • Enabling new technologies
    Understanding processing-structure-performance relationship; advanced multiscale characterisation methods (from nm to μm to cm); advanced data analysis and modelling methods.

  • Reliability
    Advanced in-situ testing facilities; long-term and accelerated testing; degradation mechanism elucidation; failure analysis; seal and barrier layer characterisation.

  • High quality advanced manufacturing
    Pre-process, in-process, post-process characterisation; non-destructive testing; spatially-resolved measurement methods; advanced data analysis and modelling methods.

  • Standardisation
    Development of best practice guides and standards through VAMAS, BSI, IPC and IEC.


Photovoltaics News

Useful links

External collaboration

NPL is a member of the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) - Joint Programme on Photovoltaics. EERA aims to accelerate the development of new energy technologies by conceiving and implementing Joint Research Programmes that support the European Commission's Strategic Energy Technology plan   European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) logo
NPL is a member of the Organic Electronics Association (OE-A)   Organic Electronics Association (OE-A)
NPL is a member of the EU COST ACTION StableNextSol   StableNextSol logo
Last Updated: 17 Oct 2017
Created: 5 Jan 2012


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