The Breakthrough of Photovoltaics

Type: Technical Lecture Series
Title: The Breakthrough of Photovoltaics
Speaker: Dr Alessandro Massi Pavan, PhD

Date: 18th October 2017
Time: 17:30 – 18:30
Location: E7, Renold Building, Altrincham Street,  The University of Manchester, Manchester, M1 7JA

Review slides here: PV Lecture Slides 04102017



Investment trends in Renewable Energy Sources (RES) clearly show that there is transition in the energy sector, which is moving toward renewable energy sources. This transition began at the start of this century in Europe with considerable investment in photovoltaics (PV) and wind power. Today PV is leading the sector, showing the largest growth together with the highest number of employees in the global RES market. Conversely, investments in conventional power generation (nuclear and fossil fuel) technologies are decreasing despite falling fossil fuel prices.

The price of PV modules has dropped by more than 99% over the last 40 years. PV was first used commercially, to power space satellites (around 1955). As a consequence of the oil-price crises in 1970s, PV became more widely adopted for off-grid applications (around 1975). By 1995 with incentives, including installation grant and feed-in-tariffs, grid-connected PV systems became more commonplace.

In 2015 a fourth phase has begun where PV grid-parity and fuel-parity started to happen in a growing number of countries across the world. The realisation of these parities represents the key for the clean generation of electricity. It also demonstrates that RES are able contribute significantly to the amount of energy that humanity will need.


Dr. Alessandro Massi Pavan

Alessandro Massi Pavan received his master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and PhD in Material Science and Engineering at the University of Trieste (Italy) in 2002 and 2008, respectively. Alessandro is Research Associate on Storage Systems at the University of Manchester and Adjunct Professor at the University of Trieste where teaches photovoltaics and distributed generation.

Alessandro has been involved in numerous projects and in the past fifteen years he has been involved in the realisation of almost 1GW of hydropower and photovoltaic plants. As Head of the engineering office in one of the largest worldwide system integrator, he gained the expertise developed in two of the largest countries in the solar sector, Italy and Germany.

Alessandro coordinates the Summer School on Energy Giacomo Ciamician where participants learn the fundamentals of energy technologies, while becoming aware of the complex technological, economical, and social issues that make energy such a formidable challenge, but also a source of many new opportunities. Alessandro is a Senior Member of IEEE.