Aerial view of a part of UQ's rooftop solar array.
Aerial view of a part of UQ's rooftop solar array.

THE University of Queensland (UQ) has a considerable portfolio of infrastructure and capacity for solar research spanning fundamental next generation technology development, systems-related engineering, and policy, regulation and energy economics.

UQ owns and operates more than 5.5 MW of solar PV across our campuses – more than any other university in the world. These plants deliver a ‘quadruple bottom line’ providing:

  • Valuable clean energy (more than 25 GW h of electricity to-date) and associated large-scale generation certificates
  • Unique pilot-scale systems-level research capacity
  • Powerful external engagement tool for the community, government and industry
  • Outstanding and relevant source materials for undergraduate education and postgraduate training programs.

  • The systems-level research at UQ is closely integrated with all other facets of the research portfolio through the coordination of UQ Solar.
  • We have large groups of researchers actively involved in the basic science of photovoltaics (Centre for Organic Photonics and Electronics) and concentrating solar thermal (School of Mining and Mechanical Engineering supercritical CO2 turbine technology group).
  • We work with industry partners such as First Solar, Trina, MPower, SMA and Photon Energy to ensure our work is relevant and impactful.
  • UQ researchers are actively involved in the development of national and international renewable energy policy and creating solutions for alleviating energy poverty across the globe.
  • Our flagship PV projects (the Gatton Solar Research Facility and the MW St Lucia Array) are exemplars of our facilities and philosophy.
  • In the future, all new buildings at UQ will be designed to have solar panels, adding to the generation capacity of the array.

Photovoltaic Array

Live Data Feed – view real-time and historical information on electricity generated by the UQ Solar St Lucia Array. The data from the meters is transmitted every minute to the server that generates the feed. Due to the time needed to send, receive and process data, the information on the live feed display is typically about two minutes “old”.


St Lucia

UQ St Lucia Campus has one of the largest integrated PV installation in Australia - 2.14 MW. The original 1.2 MW PV system has been expanded with the addition of new generation capacity in the rooftops of new and existing buildings. St Lucia also features a novel at grade Solar Concentrating Array alongside Sir Fred Schonell Drive.

The St Lucia Campus is located beside a large bend in the Brisbane River about 5 km south-west of the the Brisbane CBD (view St Lucia Campus Map).

A wide range of teaching, research, recreational and cultural activities is conducted at St Lucia. On a busy day, more than 40,000 students visit the campus. More information is available at the UQ St Lucia website.

In the future, the university is planning to install additional PV arrays on available roof space at the St Lucia Campus.

UQ Centre: The premier auditorium and lecture space for events and graduations at the St Lucia Campus Read More

Multi Level Carpark 1: Provides four levels of under cover car parking and can accommodate about 580 vehicles. Read More

Multi Level Carpark 2: Provides four levels of under cover car parking and can accommodate about 580 vehicles. Read More

Sir Llew Edwards Building (SLEB): Named for a recently retired University of Queensland Chancellor and long time senate member. Read More

Concentrating Photovoltaic Array: This automatic tracking array uses parabollic mirrors to concentrate direct sunlight onto individual solar cells. Read More

Prentice Building: The Prentice Building has 13.4 kWp of PV modules installed to test the effectiveness of a special anti-reflective surface coating. Read More

Global Change Institute (GCI) Building: Equipped with a 138kW PV system, the GCI is UQ's first net zero energy, water and carbon impact building. Read More

Advanced Engineering Building(AEB) Modern energy efficiency features and a 5-star green rating make the AEB a living laboratory of sustainable building design.  Read More

Learning Innovation Building (LIB) This building is UQ's nerve centre for technology-assisted learning and education innovation. Read More

Queensland Bioscience Precinct (QBP)  The QBP's state of the art infrastructure now includes a 34.66kW PV array. Read More

Pedestrian Link Bridge  This new piece of infrastructure boasts a 15.25kW rooftop system . Read More

General Purpose North 3 BuildingThe GP North 3 Building has gone green with a new 66.5 kWp PV system. Read More

Warehouse Building (No. 99)  The Warehouse Building (No. 99)is contributing to the sustainability of the St Lucia Campus by hosting a 164 kWp PV system. Read More

GP South Building  (No. 78)  Thanks to its 72.6kWp solar PV system, the  GP South Building (No. 78) is now significantly less reliant on grid energy. Read More

Colin Clark Building (No. 39)  The Colin Clark Building (No. 39) has increased its sustainability credentials by another notch by hosting a 51.5 kWp PV system. Read More

Joyce Ackroyd Building (No. 37)  With the addition of a 54.3kWp PV system, all suitable building roofs within the Commerce precinct host now a photovoltaic array. Read More

Axon Building (No. 47) The Axon Building is moving up the sustainability ladder with the addition of a 34.32kWp PV system. Read More

Duhig North Building (No. 12) The Duhig North Building is the first library building on campus to feature a PV system. Read More


Heron Island

As part of a Commonwealth Government Green Precincts project, 54.6 kWp of PV was installed across a number buildings at the UQ Heron Island Research Station (HIRS). This has significantly reduced the amount of diesel fuel used for power generation on this environmentally sensitive island.

Roof-top PV arrays have been installed on the administration and teaching facility, the research laboratories and the boat and maintenance Shed. One of the challenges on Heron Island is keeping the PV panels clean. During the October to March breeding season, Heron Island is home to more than 100,000 birds - mostly Black Noddy Terns (Anous minutus) and Wedgetailed Shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus). Heavy rainfall during the wet season helps counter some of the inevitable fouling of the PV panels. Despite its remote location and limited internet infrastructure, the HIRS PV arrays are now are connected to the live data feed.

Heron Island Research Station is a world class research and teaching facility and the most productive and prestigious marine research station in Australia. It is also an important site for the long-term collection of baseline oceanographic data on the southern Great Barrier Reef.  Visit the Heron Island website for more information on teaching and research at HIRS.

Administration and Teaching Facility: The administration offices and library/teaching spaces each have a 12.6 kW array on their roof making 25.2 kWp in total. Read More

Research Laboratories: Teaching and research aquaria are located on decks adjacent the laboratories. There is 12.6 kWp PV system on the roof. Read More

  Boat Shed:  This building shelters research vessels and houses the HIRS maintenance workshop. It has 16.8 kWp of roof-top PV. Read More


North Stradbroke Island

The Moreton Bay Research Station (MBRS) is on the Moreton Bay side of North Stradbroke Island, in the community of Dunwich. The Station is considered an important site to demonstrate sustainable technologies. A 40 kWp rooftop PV system was installed on MBRs in November 2011.

MBRS is just 30 minutes from the mainland by water taxi or ferry and about 90 minutes from the main UQ campus in St Lucia. MBRS provides an excellent base for study of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and it is also an ideal setting for retreats, workshops and conferences. For more information visit the MBRS website.  To view a map showing the site visit Google-Maps.

Given both the high cost of electricity on the island and the extensive use of the MBRS by visiting students and conference attendees, the Station was considered an important site to demonstrate sustainable technologies. Many parts of the SE Queensland Electricity Grid are becoming supply constrained making it important to investigate ways to reduce peak loads and shift the balance between peak and off-peak power consumption. Consideration is being given to using the MBRS, which is at the end of a long electricity supply line, as a practical case study to demonstrate how PV installations can be integrated with other energy technologies (such as battery storage) to reduce peak loads.

MBRS Located at Crn of Flinders Av. and Fraser St, Dunwich, QLD 4183. Three interconnected buildings with 40kWp of rooftop PV. Read More
 


Gatton

Farming practices can be modified to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to use or create renewable energy sources and to sequester carbon in soils and vegetation. The university is actively exploring the feasibility of these opportunities at its rural Gatton campus. The installation of a 3.275 MW PV system is a further step along the path to a sustainable future for the campus

The UQ Gatton Campus occupies 1068 hectares of rural land adjacent to the Warrego Highway at Gatton, about 90 km west of Brisbane. It is one of Australia's leading educational and research institutions in the fields of animal science, agriculture, veterinary science, food and the environment. Gatton is UQ's largest campus by area and has its second largest student population. It's also the biggest source of renewable energy for the university and hosts the largest PV research facility in the Southern Hemisphere.

For more information visit the Gatton Campus website. A number of initiatives have been adopted to improve  the long term sustainability of the Gatton Campus; further PV installations, for example, are planned for the campus.

Gatton Solar Research Facility:
the largest PV research facility in the Southern Hemisphere.

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