homenews and insights university of glasgow research and phd

SSE and the University of Glasgow to fund unique renewables research and PhD

Catherine Thomas
By Catherine Thomas
13 February 2023

Distributed Energy

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University of Glasgow

SSE Energy Solutions is to fund the most detailed research ever conducted into the performance of renewable technologies in the business sector.

The research, which is being jointly funded by the University of Glasgow and the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP), will analyse data from projects ranging from small businesses to large distribution operations.

The Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 has seen an unprecedented uptake by businesses in behind the meter renewable technologies such as solar panels, heat pumps and battery storage with very few demonstrated studies critically analysing the performance of such solutions.

“At SSE we continue to prove that greener also means fairer and that decarbonisation benefits us all in more ways than just the obvious. We want to provide a solid platform for local training and employment programmes that make a real difference in upskilling communities. This PhD funding and the research it requires is another way we provide a holistic approach to supporting the levelling up of the UK.”

Neil Kirkby
Managing Director, SSE Energy Solutions - Distributed Energy and Solar & Battery

It is anticipated that the study, expected to last more than 3 years and utilising state-of-the-art digital twin technology, will identify gaps in performance and routes to improvements. The announcement of this research underlines SSE’s commitment to the Levelling Up agenda with plans to invest £7.5bn on low carbon technologies and infrastructure to spur a green recovery, helping boost jobs and opportunities.

SSE has worked with Barnardo’s for over a decade on their employability programme for 16-24-year-olds and created a partnership with Career Ready to help support secondary school students in areas of deprivation gain real workplace experience and mentorship. SSE’s pipeline programmes attract fresh talent into the company and the industry, with people joining SSE annually through its apprenticeship scheme, Technical Skills Trainee programme and graduate programme.

We are delighted to work with SSE Energy Solutions on this exciting project, which brings together the University’s existing research on heat pumps with SSE’s vast trove of energy data to cast new light on how renewable technologies perform in the real world.

That will help us develop models and methods for energy users to maximise the uptake of renewable energy and minimise operational costs in the future. It’s a great opportunity for a PhD student to make a real contribution to how we make the transition to net-zero in the decades to come.

Professor Zhibin Yu
Professor of Thermal Energy at the University of Glasgow

The process of recruiting a suitable student is underway with the successful candidate, who will be embedded with SSE for the duration of the PhD, due to begin no later than the end of March.


About SSE Energy Solutions SSE Energy Solutions provides local energy infrastructure solutions to decarbonise organisations, along with clean, renewable energy for customer’s businesses.

SSE is a leader in developing low-carbon assets and infrastructure that the UK requires to reach its target of net zero emissions by 2050.

SSE Energy Solutions builds flexible networks to deliver the sustainable energy that people need to heat their homes and businesses, drive their cars, and power their lives, by decarbonising transport, heat, and energy systems.

SSE’s commitment to Green Jobs SSE has committed to generating 1,000 jobs a year by 2025. It is a Real Living Wage and Fair Tax Mark accredited company and currently employs 10,000 people across the UK and Ireland.

View SSE’s full five-point ‘greenprints’ for economic recovery in the UK and Ireland here:

SSE Energy Solution's Net Zero Ambassadors

We’ve brought together world-class technical specialists with a deep understanding of the technologies that drive their industries, as well as the frameworks, structures, and standards that underpin them.

Click here to view our Ambassadors

About Glasgow University

The University of Glasgow is a top world 100 University (THE, QS) and was the Times and Sunday Times Good University of the Year 2022. The University is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK Universities and has annual research income of more than £180m.

As a world-leading, research-intensive University, the University of Glasgow is committed to contributing towards the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has committed to carbon neutrality by 2030.

Glasgow was the first UK University to declare it would divest from fossil fuels within a decade and the first in Scotland to declare a Climate Emergency.

In 2021, the University of Glasgow received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its national service to the Covid-19 pandemic.