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Australian universities secure grant for PV research

Posted: 17 Aug 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:photovoltaic? research project? UNSW? Solar Flagships program?

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has secured an historic grant with the University of Queensland (UQ) to lead two major photovoltaic (PV) research projects. Under the Australian Government's Solar Flagships program, industry partners AGL Energy Ltd and First Solar will construct and operate two solar power plants in western NSW in the next three years.

Using the power stations and their combined capacity of 159MW as a backdrop, the universities have secured $40.7 million from the Education Investment Fund Research Infrastructure Program to establish corresponding research projects.

Part of the EIF funding will be used to build a Power Systems Interface Research Facility to investigate significant areas related to the successful integration of solar PV stations into Australia's electricity grid.

"This grant is the most significant and historically largest single investment to build a piece of power system interface research infrastructure in Australia," said Vassilios Agelidis, director of the Australian Energy Research Institute at UNSW. "It will deliver research skills and innovation toward our energy future."

UNSW's Les Field, VP and deputy vice chancellor (Research) said the new research facility would be housed in the recently completed Tyree Energy Technologies Building.

"The building, and the new power systems facility, position UNSW as a national energy research hub capable of delivering much-needed energy technologies and solutions."

UQ's senior deputy vice chancellor, Max Lu, said it was significant that UQ was forming a strategic partnership with UNSW, which has been an international leader in photovoltaic research for almost 30 years. "UQ is making a strategic push into energy researchacross the boardand renewables are a significant component of that work, which is taking place across the University and its institutes. We are also delighted to be working with AGL, First Solar and the NSW and federal governments on this landmark, large-scale project"

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