The energy and climate change minister Greg Barker has opened Oxford PV’s new fabrication and test facilities at Begbroke Science Park.

The Oxford University spin-out is developing an energy-generating coating that can be applied to glass. The new test facilities and fully equipped cleanroom will help accelerate the roll-out of the technology which is capable of enabling solar PV generation to be integrated in buildings.

Greg Barker noted that solar PV in the UK has an important role to play and was happy to see British businesses rising to the challenge. He added: “Oxford Photovoltaics’ new research and testing facility is putting the UK at the forefront of the international market for solar, providing state of the art resources to test a pioneering approach to harnessing the power of the sun and putting us in pole position to compete in the global race for jobs and growth.”

Oxford PV uses perovskite thin-film solar cells which are printed directly onto glass, producing a semi-transparent and robust layer. The company claims that it employs a simple manufacturing process that is based on inexpensive and abundant raw materials. Oxford PV aims to licence the technology to glass manufacturers and processors.    

Oxford PV’s founder and CEO Kevin Arthur, commented: “We have grown rapidly over the last two years, from an employee count of just one to our current level of fourteen staff. Our new lab and testing area will support our further growth and we expect to add another ten employees in 2014. On top of this, we sponsor three PhD students from the University of Oxford whose research will help us develop more products for the future.

“Our facilities are fully equipped and entirely self-contained, dedicated to the research and production of our solar technology. Oxford PV is collaborating with manufacturers and specialist consultants locally and across the country helping us to accelerate the transfer of the technology into production. This is a fantastic example of Britain leading the world in translating ground-breaking research into real products and processes that will contribute positively to the future of the planet.”

Oxford PV is set to launch a new funding round for £5 million in the New Year and is predicting that the first agreements with glass manufacturers will be signed in 2015.