Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Decarbonising electrical grids using photovoltaics with enhanced capacity factors

Williams, Cai; Michaels, Hannes; Crossland, Andrew F.; Zhang, Zongtai; Shirshova, Natasha; MacKenzie, Roderick C. I.; Sun, Hongjian; Kettle, Jeff; Freitag, Marina; Groves, Christopher

Decarbonising electrical grids using photovoltaics with enhanced capacity factors Thumbnail


Profile Image

Cai Williams
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Hannes Michaels

Andrew F. Crossland

Zongtai Zhang
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Roderick C. I. MacKenzie

Jeff Kettle

Marina Freitag


Many scenarios for Net Zero anticipate substantial growth of Solar PV generation to satisfy 30% of our electricity needs. However, this scale of deployment introduces challenges as supply may not meet demand, thereby necessitating energy storage and demand-side management. Here we demonstrate a different, complementary approach to resolving this challenge in which Solar PV generation can be made intrinsically less variable than commercial PV. Proof-of-concept dye-sensetised PVs for which the power conversion efficiency increases as light intensity reduces are demonstrated. Modelling of the UK mainland energy network predicts that these devices are more effective at displacing high carbon generation from coal and gas than commercial PV. The capacity factor of these PV devices are controlled by their design, and capacity factors >60% greater than silicon are predicted based on experimental data. These data demonstrate a new approach to designing PV devices in which minimising variability in generation is the goal. This new design target can be realised in a range of emerging technologies, including Perovskite PV and Organic PV, and is predicted to be more effective at delivering carbon reductions for a given energy network than commercial PV.


Williams, C., Michaels, H., Crossland, A. F., Zhang, Z., Shirshova, N., MacKenzie, R. C. I., …Groves, C. (2023). Decarbonising electrical grids using photovoltaics with enhanced capacity factors. Energy & Environmental Science, 16(10), 4650-4659.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 7, 2023
Online Publication Date Sep 19, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2023
Journal Energy & Environmental Science
Print ISSN 1754-5692
Electronic ISSN 1754-5706
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 10
Pages 4650-4659
Keywords Pollution; Nuclear Energy and Engineering; Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment; Environmental Chemistry
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations