The University of New South Wales has reached an agreement with Maoneng Australia and Origin Energy to have 100% of its energy supplied by photovoltaic solar energy, in what it claims is the first deal of its kind in the university sector worldwide,
The 15-year solar supply agreement with Maoneng is the first of its kind in Australia – bringing together a retailer, developer and corporate – and will allow UNSW to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020. UNSW believes it is the first university worldwide to go fully energy carbon neutral with 100% of its needs supplied by solar photovoltaics (PV).
“This landmark initiative is an exciting step towards realising UNSW’s goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020 and reflects our commitment to making a positive global impact,” said UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs.
“The Solar PPA arrangement will allow UNSW to secure carbon emission-free electricity supplies at a cost which is economically and environmentally attractive when compared to fossil fuel-sourced supplies.
“Over the past six months, UNSW has collaborated with our contract partners Maoneng and Origin to develop a Solar PPA model that leads the way in renewable energy procurement and reflects our commitment to global impact outlined in our 2025 Strategy.
“It is also highly significant and a testament to the world-class research carried out here at UNSW, that a technology which we played a leading role in developing is now being used to provide the university with a renewable source of emissions-free energy.
“UNSW researchers, in particular Professor Martin Green and the late Professor Stuart Wenham and their teams, have been instrumental in ensuring that solar energy is affordable and accessible to all –- today’s announcement is a testament to their work,” said Professor Jacobs.
Professor Wenham died late last year from malignant melanoma. He invented the Advanced Hydrogenation hydrogen passivation technology, which has allowed efficiency of solar cells to be boosted a hundredfold. The technology, based on the use of lasers to control the charge state of hydrogen atoms within a silicon wafer, was heralded as a “breakthrough for silicon photovoltaics” by the UK Institution of Engineering and Technology when it awarded him the 2013 A.F. Harvey Engineering Prize.
Photo: UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs. The 142kW array is part of the 692kW of solar PV arrays currently installed across rooftops at the UNSW Kensington campus.