Swinburne & Suntech Open Production Facility

The Victoria-Suntech Advanced Solar Facility (VSASF) was officially launched this week in Melbourne, with the Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and Innovation, Gavin Jennings MLC, on hand to commemorate the event.

The facility, a collaborative venture between Swinburne University of Technology and Suntech Power was partially funded by a AU $3 million grant under the Victorian Science Agenda Investment Fund. The collaboration will provide a platform for the partners to commercialize NANOPLAS, a nanoplasmonic solar cell technology being developed at Swinburne.

Heading up the VSASF will be Professor Min Gu, director of the Swinburne Centre for Micro-Photonics, and Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s chairman and CEO as well as a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

According to Professor Gu the group’s strong mix of research and business expertise will put them in a unique position to research, develop and commercialize the innovative solar cell technology.

“This new NANOPLAS technology will allow for the efficient collection of solar energy from a wider color spectrum than cells currently being developed in other laboratories,” he said. “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.”

Cooperation between Suntech and Swinburne began in April 2009 when the two parties announced their partnership for the development of nanoplasmonic solar technology. As an extension of that agreement, the VSASF is expected to promote further cooperation among Australia’s world-leading solar research community and could potentially be a precursor to a Suntech production facility in Australia.

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