A joint Australian–U.S. research institute led by The University of New South Wales in Australia will foster rapid development of “over the horizon” photovoltaic technology and establish Australia as the solar cell research and education hub of the Asia-Pacific region, the university has announced.
Australian Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson says the $35 million U.S.-Australia Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics (USAIAP) is part of a raft of new programs and projects through the United States–Australia Solar Energy Collaboration.
The funding is part of an $83 million commitment, one of Australia’s biggest solar research investments.
The new Institute is led by UNSW’s photovoltaic researchers. It provides a pathway for research collaboration between Australian and American centers and agencies and will drive innovation and commercialization.
“We welcome such a significant government investment in renewable energy research and we are pleased that UNSW’s world-leading solar researchers have been recognised in this way,” says UNSW Vice-Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer.
UNSW, through its School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, holds the world record in silicon solar cell efficiency. UNSW Scientia Professors Martin Green and Stuart Wenham were recently honored as inaugural members of the Australian Solar Council’s Solar Hall of Fame.
The USAIAP will work with the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy Research Center for Quantum Energy and Sustainable Technologies (QESST). QESST is based at Arizona State University, but involves other key groups including Caltech, MIT and Georgia Tech.
Other U.S. collaborators include Stanford University, University of California – Santa Barbara, and Sandia National Laboratories.
Also playing key roles are Australian and U.S.-based companies, such as Suntech Australia, BT Imaging, Trina Solar Energy, BlueScope Steel and smaller start-ups.
The USAIAP is supported by both the Australian Solar Institute and the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
UNSW is also involved in five other research projects announced by the federal government and will take the lead in two:
- $5.3 million initiative to develop Tools for design and scale-up of solar thermochemical reactors in partnership with University of Adelaide, Sandia National Laboratories, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Cornell University;
- $6.7 million project to produce Low cost, high efficiency copper-zinc-tin-sulphide (CZTS) on silicon multi-junction solar cells in partnership with Suntech R&D Australia, the National Renewable Energy Agency (NREL), and the Colorado School of Mines.
Australian Solar Institute