The Victoria-Suntech Advanced Solar Facility (VSASF) will be officially launched today in Melbourne, with the Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and Innovation, Gavin Jennings MLC, attending to commemorate the event.
Originally announced in April last year, VSAF is a collaborative venture between Swinburne University of Technology and Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd and has been partially funded by a $3 million grant under the Victorian Science Agenda Investment Fund.
The project will provide a platform for commercialisation of NANOPLAS, a revolutionary nanoplasmonic solar cell technology being developed at Swinburne.
According to the head of VSASF, Professor Min Gu, “This new NANOPLAS technology will allow for the efficient collection of solar energy from a wider colour spectrum than cells currently being developed in other laboratories. This could make them twice as efficient as the current generation of cells, which would also make them significantly less costly to produce and therefore to use.”
Professor Gu said the arrangements will ensure that the NANOPLAS technology can be easily transferred to the production line and complement Suntech’s industry-leading Pluto solar cell technology; the same technology that was recently used in solar panels for Sydney Town Hall
Another important aspect of the venture is it could potentially be a precursor to a Suntech solar panel production facility in Australia. Currently the only other manufacturer of solar panels for the home solar power market in Australia is Silex Solar.
According to Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Chairman and CEO, “As solar reaches grid parity, in Australia and around the world, we are powering a revolution that will permanently redefine how the world uses energy.”
In recognition of his contributions to energy and environmental research and development, Dr. Zhengrong Shi will receive an honorary doctorate from Swinburne University following the VSASF launch event.