The University of Queensland has proudly unveiled the largest flat solar PV panel array in the country; a very impressive sight of 5000 solar grids, collectively the size of 1 ½ football fields, which have been installed on four buildings at the university’s St Lucia campus in Brisbane.
Energy Minister Stephen Robertson officially opened the array, which is expected to produce about 1750 megawatt hours of renewable energy each year, offsetting about five percent of UQ’s peak demand power requirements.
The $7.75 million solar project includes a 8.4 kilowatt concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) array that tracks the sun’s position and it’s 5000 silicon based solar panels are expected to produce enough clean solar energy to counter about 1770 tons of carbon per annum, equivalent to the emissions of almost 350 cars.
The milestone was made possible by the Queensland Government who contributed $1.5 million to the project, in addition to support from Energex, Ingenero, and RedFlow, who contributed a 200 kw storage battery which will allow important research into solar power capture techniques during the day and feeding it into the grid at night and times of peak demand.
The aim of the project is not only to cut carbon emissions of the University, but also to allow researchers from UQ to compare the efficiency and carbon reduction rate of various solar power technologies and develop the technology further.
Professor Meredith, of the Global Change Institute, said the polycrystalline silicon solar panels position the University as a leader in solar power research; “It’s a very, very valuable piece of research infrastructure,” he said, “it is globally significant – I only know of a small handful of universities around the world that have anything like this and it really positions us, as the University of Queensland, as a major research provider in solar energy.”
Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said that data from the project will lead the way for future solar projects and an integration of large scale applications.
He also added that he will be visiting most areas of Queensland to make major renewable energy announcements as the state seeks better energy sources. An important part of his tour will be help to promote the existing Bligh Government initiatives, such as the Solar Hot Water Rebate and Solar Bonus Scheme, that are encouraging the continued uptake of solar power technologies by households and small businesses.