The ISE premises at Marsaxlokk were refurbished in 2015 and a state of the art centre of excellence dedicated towards photovoltaic research was created thanks to over 4.2 million euros in ERDF funding.
The current establishment consists of two state of the art research laboratories, a fully equipped classroom and extensive outdoor grounds for experiments related to the development and improvement of prototype and commercially available sustainable energy systems.
The laboratories are fully equipped to produce and characterise novel, thin film photovoltaic cells and existing solar cell technologies. The laboratories allow researchers to investigate the performance of solar cells, solar materials and other materials. Current research is focused on the synthesis and investigation of organic and perovskite solar cells and defects in commercially available silicon solar cells and solar systems. The facilities also enable characterization of semiconductor silicon wafers and other materials.
The Institute has also been a pioneer in collecting, modelling and studying data on solar and wind resources of the Maltese Islands to establish the potential energy that can be generated from these resources including its storage. Live weather conditions are being monitored as part of the Institute’s research efforts. Ongoing studies include shallow ground geothermal systems for space heating and cooling, floating solar PV modules, solar tracking and industrial solar cooling technology for wine fermentation.
Apart from renewables, energy efficiency in buildings for both commercial and residential applications has also been a topic that is being investigated, using both data collection and simulation software with weather data compiled at the Institute. This was used to investigate the most adequate energy efficient technologies for Malta, both from an energy perspective and comfort point of view. Part of this research also includes investigation into the applied science with projects pertaining to the improvement of building materials.