Leading solar industry partners have signed up to a new industry consortium in support of Australian solar research in June at SNEC (Shanghai New Energy Conference), the world’s largest solar trade show. The ACAP Industry Consortium connects leading industry players with the latest in research and keeps solar researchers informed on industry updates and challenges.

Founding industry partners in the consortium include Aiko Solar and JA Solar with Canadian Solar, Huasun, LONGI Solar, Trina Solar and Sunman also signing up to an expression of interest. Discussions are in progress with a number of other industry partners from Australia, India and China to join this important initiative.

Solar technology development is a global success story that has brought power to billions of people. With manufacturing at scale, single junction silicon technology is maturing rapidly, driven principally by investments in Chinese industry. Australian research, education and technology transfer, through centres such as the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP), have played a fundamental role in this transformational industry, with over 200 UNSW alumni joining a reunion in Shanghai at the trade show.

Professor Martin Green of UNSW, Chair of the Consortium, says “As industry powers ahead in performance and cost with single junction silicon, interest is growing in research into what technology lies beyond silicon.” 

Manufacturing, at the scale needed to meet climate targets, brings a focus on sustainability including materials supply and recycling, plus rapid technology changes create research opportunities in in-field performance, reliability, deployment for the current single junction silicon technologies. 

ACAP Centre Director, Renate Egan said, “With energy from photovoltaics expected to deliver over 50% of the world’s electricity needs by 2050, solar is going to be a big part of our energy future. We’re only just beginning”.

The ACAP Industry Consortium was established as a platform to connect the leading solar industry players with world class research opportunities, teaching and graduate study program and graduates. It also acts to keep Australia’s leading researchers engaged and informed about industry progress and current and future challenges. Connections are made through regular communications, workshops, scholarship support, student internship opportunities and events.

The founding industry partners AIKO Solar and JA Solar are in discussions for larger programs of work on research projects. AIKO Solar is one of the world’s largest solar cell manufacturers and reports solar module efficiencies over 25% with their all back contact (ABC) cell technology. JA Solar is a leading manufacturer of high-performance photovoltaic (PV) products including silicon wafers, cells, modules and power stations with cumulative module shipments of 201GW.

About ACAP

The Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) is Australia’s national centre for research into solar photovoltaics (PV), hosted by UNSW. ACAP was founded in 2013 by Professor Martin Green, and receives funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), university and industry partners to develop a pipeline of technologies to deliver ultra low cost solar.