Monday 13 February, 2017, 6.00pm, Presbyterian Church Hall, 91 Tenby St, Wanaka.

By Henry Snaith FRS, University of Oxford, and Professor Justin
Hodgkiss, Deputy Director, MacDiarmid Institute.

This year will see us capture more of our energy needs from sunlight than ever before. The phenomenal growth in global photovoltaic capacity has taken even the most optimistic observers by surprise, yet its consistent doubling every two years is a hallmark of how technologies scale. The impact we are beginning to see today is built on silicon photovoltaic technology that is over twenty years old. Since then, scientists have been searching for fundamentally cheaper semiconductor materials that will enable the next transformative step in large-scale solar power generation.

In this talk, we will first explain how the economics of solar photovoltaics are fuelling a clean energy revolution. We will then discuss the science of photovoltaic cells, and how the recent discovery of perovskite photovoltaic materials is set to make the large-scale deployment of solar photovoltaics even more compelling. We will finally reflect on the some of the potential positive societal impacts of “free power” from the sun.


Henry Snaith is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, where he directs a group researching in photovoltaic materials and devices. He recently discovered a new class of thin film semiconductor materials for solar cells, namely organic inorganic metal halide perovskites. As well as leading to the spinout company Oxford PV Ltd, his pioneering work has been recognised with a number of accolades, including election as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015 at age 37, being named one of “Natures Ten” people who mattered in 2013, and assessed as being the world’s 2nd most influential scientific mind in 2016.

Justin Hodgkiss is an Associate Professor in Physical Chemistry at Victoria University of Wellington, where he has been since 2009. Associate Professor Hodgkiss is also a Rutherford Discovery Fellow, and deputy director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. His research group develops and applies ultrafast optical spectroscopy methods to understand the photophysics of next generation optoelectronic materials. Associate Professor Hodgkiss completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Otago (New Zealand), before undertaking his PhD with Dan Nocera at MIT, and a postdoc with Sir Richard Friend in Cambridge.

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