Community Power Hub

Sustainable Development Goal target(s)

  • SDG04 (Quality Education)
  • SDG07 (Affordable and Clean Energy)
  • SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities)
  • SDG13 (Climate Action)
Project lead Dr Damien Frame, Electronic & Electrical Engineering
Open to year groups
  • UG Year 2
  • UG Year 3
Faculties/departments Electronic & Electrical Engineering; Electrical & Mechanical Engineering; Computer & Electronic System

Please note: availability can vary between degrees. Please contact your advisor of studies and the project lead for more information.

How to apply

To apply for this project please complete our application form.

Project overview

Decentralised renewable energy solutions are being widely deployed by communities across the world as they seek to address the challenges presented by SDG 7 by increasing the deployment of renewable energy and improving energy access.  Off-grid solar energy systems deployed by communities in both Scotland and Malawi provide an opportunity for innovative Productive Use of Energy (PUE) technology that supports the delivery of a range of development goals.

This project will examine how community benefit can be maximised by off-grid renewable energy hubs in diverse community settings.  The project will link with existing Energy Hub initiatives led by Glasgow Community Energy and Community Energy Malawi and will investigate specific applications of high-impact PUE technology with appropriate monitoring and control solutions. While this is a technology-focused project, the project will also include educational outreach activities with communities and schools.

What students will be doing

Initially, the project will focus on solar e-bike charging hubs for community benefit, partnering with Glasgow Community Energy, who operate an off-grid solar energy hub in the North East of Glasgow.  The hub provides a solution for generating, storing and using energy to provide power for a community garden and tool library.  The project owns several e-bikes that are charged at the hub and made available to the community. 

This project will investigate ways to provide additional benefit through more sophisticated remote monitoring and control features that allow full utilisation of the available generation for an expanded set of applications, such as lighting circuits, catering facilities, refrigeration, power tools and irrigation.  GCE Director and SGS Engineer, Calum Watkins, will be actively involved in the supervision of the project, supporting UoS staff lead Damien Frame.

Students who join this new VIP will have the opportunity to participate in solar energy workshops delivered in Glasgow schools by the GCE team.

The project will also link with Community Energy Malawi who have recently installed a 12kW solar energy hub in rural Malawi for irrigation and cooling purposes through the Strathclyde EASE project. They have ambitions to include e-transport charging at their hub and opportunities for shared learning between the VIP and the active research project will be sought.