100 facts about Solar at CSIRO: Part 5

To celebrate our 100th blog post, we’ve put together (in no particular order) a list of 100 things you may not know about solar research at CSIRO. In this final section: some blasts from the past, some sports and some reports, and at the end we get a bit meta.

◊  ◊  ◊


Members of the CSIRO Solar Thermal team pose with Prime Minister Gillard in front of Solar Field 2 during its opening ceremony.

  1. Within the solar team we have people with backgrounds in Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Software Engineering and Chemical Engineering. (There’s a bit of Paper Engineering, too.)
  2. CSIRO solar scientist Professor Andrew Holmes was awarded a Royal Medal this year for his contributions to technologies including organic solar cells.
  3. Research scientist Jacek Jasieniak has just returned from spending a year in the US as a Fullbright Fellow, where he worked with Nobel laureate Professor Alan Heeger on increasing the efficiency of organic photovoltaic cells. Dr Jasieniak is also a former ‘Fresh science’ winner and the subject of a news article titled ‘Aussie Scientists Have Created Printable Frickin’ Lasers’.
  4. Some of our solar team mentor school children in science and engineering through the Scientists in Schools program.
  5. One of CSIRO’s solar engineers is former world champion in a solar-powered sport.

VPS / grid

  1. Twenty locations in the Hunter Region, including residential houses and council sites with rooftop photovoltaics, were involved in CSIRO / LMCC’s Virtual Power Station trial project. Each participating household used a web interface to track their solar panel performance and to see the performance of the whole VPS network.
  2. A CSIRO report has shown that Australia’s energy supply can remain stable and reliable even if a large percentage comes from solar energy or other intermittent sources. The solar intermittency can be managed by increasing grid flexibility and considering options such as energy storage and load control (i.e. switching things on or off, or turning them down for a short time).


  1. Australia’s first reported domestic solar hot water heater was designed and made by CSIRO in 1941.
  2. CSIRO made many improvements to flat-plate solar hot water collectors in the 1980s. Researchers used a 14 kW solar simulator made of mercury-iodide lamps for testing purposes.
  3. A CSIRO / University of Wollongong / NCC pilot study recently discovered that many solar hot water system owners in Australia could ‘supercharge’ their systems by making a few easy changes.

    This photo is from a book called ‘CSIRO Research for Australia: 2 – Energy’, circa 1986

  4. CSIRO has had several projects investigating hydrogen production using solar energy, from the fashionable 80s (above) through to the present day.
  5. All of CSIRO’s solar research papers can be found in the online Research Publications Repository.
  6. The CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle has had many visitors including energy ministers or staffers from several different countries, documentary makers including the Discovery Channel and Dick Smith, and thousands of members of the public.

 The blog

  1. Solar@CSIRO was CSIRO’s first blog. Others have followed.
  2. The solar blog has been viewed from 110 countries (and counting).

    The solar blog has been viewed from 110 countries. Hey Greenlanders, come visit us – it’d make our day.

  3. Interesting search terms that have taken people to this blog include ‘solat power’ [sic], ‘photovoltaic cells fancy dress’, ‘solar power puns’, and the slightly surreal ‘how much does a hang glider cost’.
  4. Want to make sure you don’t miss out on the latest news about our energy research? You can subscribe to this blog to be emailed updates – or, for all our energy research, sign up to receive CSIRO’s energy research newsletter ‘Spark’. If you like your media more ‘multi’, you can also subscribe to CSIRO’s podcast and vodcast for general news and features.

5 Comments on “100 facts about Solar at CSIRO: Part 5”

  1. margarete ritchie says:

    congratulations on an enlightening summary of your first 100 blogs and all the other ‘quick bites’ in this special series of blogs. I enjoy reading the blogs as a” non-science but interested ” perspective. It is interesting and informative and helps me understand just a bit better the whole issue of renewable energy with a solar emphasis.
    I wish you well with the blog and hope there will be many more.

  2. Carol Saab says:

    Reblogged this on News @ CSIRO and commented:

    Australia’s first reported domestic solar hot water heater was designed and made by CSIRO in 1941. The last of the ‘100 Facts about Solar@CSIRO’ posts.

  3. I agree, but everyone needs to appreciate that adding Solar on their home is an asset which will increase the long term value of their residence if / when they choose to sell. With the environment the way it is going we are not able to disregard any product that gives 100 % free electricity at no cost to both the shopper and more importantly the environment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s