UQ Solar: the challenge of sustainable, clean energy

UQ Solar began as a collaborative project, between UQ’s Property and Facilities division, and the School of Mathematics and Physics, to reduce total energy costs.

Professor Paul Meredith from the School of Mathematics and Physics, Professor Paul Burn from School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, Professor Tapan Saha from the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering and Professor John Foster from the School of Economics were integral to establishing UQ Solar.

Supported by a $1.5 million Queensland Government grant in 2010, UQ initially installed a 1.2 MW solar photovoltaic system on four of its St Lucia buildings.

Covering a surface area equivalent to about one-and-a-half rugby fields, the $7.75 million project was originally predicted to avoid 1750 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, equivalent to taking 335 cars off the roads each year. Less than a decade later, the original 1.2 MW installation was expanded to include 21 new and existing St Lucia buildings, amounting to a potential power output of 2.3 MW of clean energy, every day.

Later, UQ Solar continued at the Global Change Institute with the construction of Gatton Solar research facility and renewable energy laboratory with funding from Solar Flagship Project’s Education Infrastructure Fund led by Professor Paul Meredith, Professor Tapan Saha and Professor John Foster in collaboration with UQ’s Property and Facilities division. From 2017-18, UQ Solar moved to the Faculty of EAIT.

Visit UQ’s live data feed for an estimate of how much CO2 has been avoided since 2010, and how much UQ has saved on its power bill to date.

UQ’s world class solar installations – which also include the 3.275 MW Gatton Solar Research Facility and a 64 MW solar facility planned for the Qld town of Warwick – are used for teaching, learning and scientific investigation by some of the world’s best solar research scientists.

Solar energy researchers around the world are invited to access the large data sets (live and historic) available from UQ's photovoltaic arrays.
UQ engineers have access to huge amounts of raw data generated across the UQ Solar network, which includes PV sites at St Lucia, Heron Island and Gatton. Depending on your requirements, there are two sources of research data available.
International efforts to improve the efficiency and delivery of photovoltaic power systems involve several cross-disciplinary teams. There are several such UQ teams conducting PV-related research at UQ.