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Centre for Energy Research


The photovoltaics (PV) research activities of the CER are based in the Department of Physics.  The work covers a wide range of topics, including PV materials and defect studies, device physics, solar cell and PV module characterization and systems evaluation.  The CER has a complete indoor PV characterization laboratory and an outdoor facility for evaluating PV devices and systems.  The CER is recognised as a leader in the field of PV research in South Africa.  For more details on our PV research please browse the PV pages of the Department of Physics.

Energy Materials

Materials studies are in the area of photovoltaic materials development, characterization and defect recognition studies. Various techniques are used to study materials and devices used in standard silicon solar cells, thin film solar cells and high efficiency concentrator solar cells. Materials used in the design of turbines, aerofoils, machines and structures are also investigated.

Energy Efficiency

All activities within the Centre are associated with the efficient and cost effective production and delivery of energy.

Energy Storage

The energy storage research involves materials characterization and evaluation batteries.

Energy Demand Forecasting and Modelling

This research involve various aspects of forecasting and modelling energy demand.  Different renewable energy technologies and conventional electricity generation methods are studied and applied in the models.

Energy Economics

The main interests of this group are the valuation of inputs and outputs of energy related projects, the determination of efficiency and sustainability in energy production and consumption, and the estimation of environmental costs of energy provision.

Wind Energy

This group focuses on the design of various technologies of wind energy equipment and the analysis of wind resource data.

Renewable Energy Systems

The focus here is on the specification and design of stand-alone PV-, wind- and PV/wind/diesel hybrid-systems. System design includes system fundamental specification, sizing, load determination, solar/wind resource data, economic analysis, installation detail, and operation and maintenance planning.

Energy Management and Control

The group focuses on energy management and control within the field of solar and automotive energy. It has advanced hardware and software development capability for advanced sensor and actuator development, simulation and design.

Energy and the Environment

The NMMU Centre for African Conservation Ecology (ACE) is associated with the CER and is active in the field of the environmental impacts associated with the provision of energy.

Solar Thermal

The CER works closely with solar water heating (SWH) companies in the area of SWH component evaluation, and system specification, evaluation and monitoring.