Sun sets on the Solar@CSIRO blog

Sunset over Kakadu

CSIRO’s solar technology blog is no longer active but the existing content will remain online for the near future.

New solar updates will be available at news@csiro.

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International solar experts focus on Australia

SolarPACES – the ‘United Nations’ of concentrating solar power. The event, where over 20 countries were represented, was recently held at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle.

It’s one of the biggest international events of the year for solar thermal experts and for the first time it was held in Australia!

SolarPACES symposium attendees viewing CSIRO's solar tower in action.

‘Future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.’ SolarPACES symposium attendees viewing CSIRO’s solar tower in action.

The SolarPACES (Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems) executive committee meeting and conference enticed experts from countries including USA, Spain, Germany, France and China. During the event they discussed important solar thermal issues and all the latest developments in the technology, markets and the future of the technology.

CSIRO’s Wes Stein told us, ‘We’re hearing from the experts about their experiences in their different countries, not only around research and technology programs, but also around the measures that have made advancements possible in their country.’

This is important stuff for the future of solar thermal research and technology – to help get this technology operating efficiently and make it more affordable. 

CSIRO’s two solar towers were operating for the visitors during the event as working examples of the technology.

The SolarPACES executive committee and CSIRO's Chief Executive, Dr Megan Clark.

The SolarPACES executive committee and CSIRO’s Chief Executive, Dr Megan Clark, strike a pose at the Newcastle Energy Centre.


Happy Earth Hour!

Greeting the sun and a lovely rosy dawn, our heliostats in formation for Earth Hour (8.30pm, Saturday 23 March).

Solar field in the formation 60+.

The 60 represents the minutes of Earth Hour and the + is all about continuing your energy saving beyond just the hour. Thanks to the Newcastle Herald (29 March 2012) for the pic.

Want some practical energy saving tips? Our energy efficiency expert, Glenn Platt, blogged with The Newcastle Herald recently and answered all your ‘hot’ questions including saving money on your power bills and electric cars for the future.


We’re all going on a solar holiday….

By Simon Hunter

Our scientists are pretty passionate about their work. So much so that they don’t just take their work home with them – they take it on holiday.

Organic printed solar cell floating in the water.

Scientist Scott Watkins recently took this holiday snap of an organic printed solar cell floating in Callala Bay on the NSW south coast. He thought the cell deserved a treat after helping secure funding for a new, $87 million Australia-US partnership in solar cell research. The funding will be used to establish the US-Australia Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics (IAP). This centre will work on solar cells – those that convert sunlight directly into electricity.

The solar cell partnership is a parallel program to the solar thermal research partnership that we reported on back in December.

For CSIRO, our involvement in the IAP represents a great chance to continue our work on manufacturing thin-film solar cells while working alongside new colleagues with deep expertise in existing, silicon-based solar cells. Who knows where this research will take us next.

You can read more about our organic solar cell work on our website and keep up to date with all of our Flexible Electronics news on twitter @FlexElectronixx


News @ CSIRO

Today we celebrate the career of Dr Lan Lam – the primary inventor of CSIRO’s UltraBattery – an invention putting two technologies together into one awesome storage unit! Bringing down the cost of hybrid electric vehicles and making it easier to integrate more renewable energy into the grid are just some of the achievements of the UltraBattery.

Dr Lam and his team took the world’s 150 year-old battery technology and revolutionised it in the CSIRO labs. Today Dr Lam retires and leaves a legacy of impact.

“It was always my dream to create a better battery. I knew the success of hybrid electric and electric vehicles were dependent on it,” said Dr Lam.

This year the first UltraBattery will be released in the automotive market, powering hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) in Japan, United States, South America, Europe and Asia. The use of HEVs decreases our reliance on fossil fuels and thereby…

View original post 211 more words


Back to (solar) school

Some lucky students in Canberra won’t just be hitting the books when they head back to school next week – they will also become junior CSIRO scientists, helping us with our solar research.

Solar research stations have been set up in four Canberra schools to help CSIRO study the output of photovoltaic (PV) panels. The data will help us to predict the behaviour of PV panels in urban areas and could help future power supply planning.

The school’s PV panels are connected to a website where the data can be monitored in real-time.

More schools will join the research program this year!

It’s real-time learning! Have a look for yourself at: weru.csiro.au or watch the short ABC News video below showing the research in action.

A screen grab of the WERU website data.

An example of the data from the rooftop installation.