At UNSW, we were the first university in Australia to generate solar energy. In 2005, we installed a 42kWp photovoltaic (PV) array on the Quadrangle Building – a large solar panel that converts solar radiation into direct current electricity.
The roof-mounted PV panel produces "direct-current" (DC) electricity, which is then converted into "alternating current" (AC) electricity by thirteen microprocessor-based inverters located in a roof plantroom between the two roof panel sections.
The solar produced electricity is then used throughout the building.
The Quadrangle Building PV system uses BP Solar Saturn PV modules, which were developed at UNSW. The entire PV module roof array is rated at a maximum of 42 kiloWatts under ideal conditions, although the actual amount of electrical power produced at any time is dependant on the angle of the sun, the extent of clouds, and the air temperature.
Since then we’ve also added more solar cells including 10kW on the Fitness and Aquatic Centre, 18kW on the student and staff childcare centres and a 146kW system in the new Tyree Energy Technology Building.
Explore PV System (live data)
To coincide with this project, a multimedia software presentation called the "Photovoltaic Info Point" has been developed. The software shows live and historical PV system performance data and explains how the system works. It also addresses other issues including the advantages of utilising renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaics.