Lifting Energy Conversion Levels through Industry Research
Solar energy as the world’s primary power source took a major leap towards reality in 2014 when a collaboration between UNSW and Australian solar tech leader, RayGen Resources, produced the highest-ever efficiency rate for the conversion of sunlight into electricity. Researchers achieved an unparalleled 40.4% conversion rate for photovoltaic efficiency.
Following this breakthrough research, RayGen developed new technology that is already making waves in the booming Chinese solar market. In March 2015, RayGen signed a deal with state-owned renewables giant, China Three Gorges. The deal means a minimum of 500MW of capacity will be built over the next couple of years, delivering an estimated AU$1 billion in sales for RayGen and its Chinese partner, JuYe Solar.
“An exciting milestone in enabling utility-scale solar power to become a more viable alternative to fossil fuel.”
RayGen Resources CEO, Bob Cart
Setting Ambitious Targets
RayGen’s Chief Technology Officer, John Lasich, believes they are capable of lifting energy conversion levels even higher. “Looking at the pipeline of solar PV cell advances, we expect to achieve close to 45% system efficiency in the next few years," he says.
This pipeline of advances sits squarely in UNSW’s Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics where Father of Photovoltaics, Scientia Professor Martin Green, sees productive days ahead for the partnership. “We look forward to working with RayGen in the future and taking the technology to the next stage,” he says.
Exciting Milestones Ahead
The technology uses heliostats (mirrors that track the sun) to concentrate light onto a dense array of PV cells that generate electricity. RayGen provided design and technical support to the UNSW team based on their unique PV power-tower concept. RayGen CEO, Bob Cart, says the result marked an exciting milestone in enabling utility-scale solar power to become a more viable alternative to fossil fuel.