Boost for Australian solar power research

Friday, 15 May, 2009

Germany’s Roth & Rau AG, an international supplier for the solar power industry, will set up a silicon solar cell production line at the University of New South Wales.

The pilot line will be the backbone of the $20 m Solar Industrial Research Facility (SIRF) at UNSW.

Dr Richard Corkish, Head of the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, said the establishment of the SIRF will represent a significant advance in the nation’s capabilities in silicon solar photovoltaic technology.

Professor Martin Green, Executive Research Director of the University’s ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence, said: “This is a big step forward. Our students will get first-hand production experience while the pilot line will provide a much-needed test bed for researchers around the country.”

UNSW received $5 million in federal government funding through the Australian Solar Institute towards the establishment of the SIRF.

The SIRF will be an industrial-grade manufacturing facility that will enable the development of UNSW’s silicon solar cell technologies from laboratory processes to factory-ready industrial processes. As a world-class research facility, it is also expected to attract top-level research students to UNSW.

The SIRF will be used to showcase advanced solar cell manufacturing technology to a global customer base and will also be used to train Roth & Rau staff and customers on advanced equipment and processes.

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