Energy ministers visit UNSW's world-class solar energy research facility

Energy ministers visit UNSW's world-class solar energy research facility

Minister Chris Bowen accompanied the Indian delegation as they explored the latest developments in solar energy research.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) research and development at UNSW Sydney has attracted further attention from the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, with a second visit in a month to the Solar Industrial Research Facility (SIRF), located at the Kensington campus. 

Mr Bowen visited the research facility in late June to announce $45 million of funding for the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP). Today, Mr Bowen returned with his Indian counterpart, Minister for Power, New and Renewable Energy, Raj Kumar Singh to demonstrate the potential of solar energy for India. 

“It was wonderful to host Mr RK Singh, Indian Minister of Power and Minister of New and Renewable Energy at UNSW's Solar Industrial Research Facility today.

“Martin Green and his team essentially invented the modern solar panel, and the Albanese Government through ARENA was thrilled to recently extend the funding of Australian solar research through the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics,” said Mr Bowen.

“India and Australia both have incredible potential to be big global players in solar – and it was great to share an Australian research success story with our friends from India. The Albanese Government looks forward to deepening our friendship with India even further and increasing collaboration on clean energy technologies.”

The SIRF is a world-class photovoltaic pilot line manufacturing facility that enables the development of UNSW’s silicon solar cell technologies from laboratory processes to factory-ready industrial processes. 

“Today we saw advanced solar technology during our visit to the Solar Industrial Research Facility, which is of great interest to our country. We have rapidly expanding capacity to embrace this technology and we look forward to developing a partnership with the university,” said Mr Singh. 

The visit to UNSW coincides with the Sydney Energy Forum, a global energy conference co-hosted by the Australian Government and the International Energy Agency. Forum speakers include Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, industry and business partners, and scientists including UNSW’s Professor Martin Green, who is often quoted as being the ‘father of modern photovoltaics’ and recently referred to as a “national treasure” by Mr Bowen. 

“We're thrilled to welcome Minister Singh and Minister Bowen to the Solar Industrial Research Facility at UNSW. The facility is a key resource in the Asia-Pacific for technology development and as a showcase for translating research into practice.  Local research capability such as this is essential to underpinning local manufacturing capability,” said Professor Green. 

Professor Anne Simmons, UNSW Acting Vice-Chancellor, said the joint visit was an excellent opportunity to showcase the University’s expertise in the development of cutting-edge solar energy technology. “We welcome Minister Bowen’s enthusiasm and interest in UNSW’s photovoltaic engineering research and extend a warm welcome to Minister Raj Kumar Singh and his delegation.” 

Professor Renate Egan, UNSW Lead at ACAP, said India is leading in its ambitions for renewable energy investment, with a well-developed pipeline of projects that are driving investment in local manufacturing. “We look forward to growing our relationship with India on solar technology development, research and training.” 

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