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Australia kickstarts green future with printed solar panel sites

Australia kickstarts green future with printed solar panel sites

Paul Dastoor looks at the buildings, houses and cities around him and sees lost opportunities.

He imagines a future where the majority of roofs are covered in printed solar panels less than one millimetre thick.

“Our vision is that we want to see every building, every structure’s power generated [by] solar cells.”

The University of Newcastle professor has made this vision a reality, creating the first printed solar site in Australia.

“There are just three demonstration sites at this scale that we know of anywhere in the world, so Australia has joined quite an elite group of global leaders poised to make this technology a commercial reality,” he said.

Costing less than $10 per square metre to make, the panels can be manufactured rapidly and transported easily.

On a commercial scale, it would take just 10 printers operating around the clock to produce enough solar panels to power 1000 homes for a day.

Researchers at The University of Newcastle have spent the past five years developing the ability to print solar panels at scale. Commercial prototypes are now a reality.

“It’s been a journey heading towards this pre-commercial stage where we can now print hundreds of metres of solar panels a day,” Professor Dastoor said.

Beyond powering houses and cities, he said there was potential for this new technology to assist in emergency situations, with solar cells printed on demand and sent to disaster zones to power relief efforts.

Easily installed, they continue to function even in low light conditions, ensuring no dip in productivity.

The printed solar panels will be on display at the Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre over the next week. A total of 32 printed panels are powering the screens and displays of the exhibition.

The Australian

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