Sydney Theatre Company’s Rooftop Solar Farm Switched On

The 384kW Suntech solar panel based rooftop array atop The Wharf, home of the Sydney Theatre Company (STC), was switched on last Friday at an event hosted by STC Artistic Directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton.
The project was financed by a $2 million donation from a foundation established by Suntech’s CEO, Dr. Zhengrong Shi
The 1,906 Suntech Pluto solar panel installation is one of the largest capacity rooftop solar arrays in Australia. Suntech Pluto monocrystalline cells have achieved over 19% conversion efficiency in commercial production, and the advanced cell technology set two new world records for module conversion efficiency.
“Twenty years ago, while performing solar research at the University of New South Wales, few people believed that solar technology could ever power a building such as The Wharf,” says Dr. Shi. 
Suntech Pluto solar panels have a strong Australian tie; with research for the development of the underlying technology occurring in partnership with the University of New South Wales.
In a statement from Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett, the pair said they hoped the rooftop solar farm will inspire others to take their own steps in tackling the challenges of climate change. 
The solar array, coupled with energy efficiency improvements, will provide for roughly 70% of the theatre company’s electricity consumption.
In addition to the solar power system, The Wharf will integrate a streamlined waste recycling system and a rainwater harvesting system to meet all of the facility’s non-potable water requirements. 
Suntech invests several million dollars each year in collaborations with leading Australian solar research institutions, including UNSW and Swinburne University of Technology. According to the company, Suntech nearly doubled its global R&D investments from US$15 million to US$29 million in 2009.
Commercial scale rooftop solar farms are slowing becoming more commonplace in Australia. Recently, national solar power solutions provider Energy Matters installed a 200kW solar array for Johnson & Johnson Medical.