Solar Facility

An ellipsometer in Swinburne's solar facility.

A dynamic collaboration between university and industry, the solar facility is driving improvements in the efficiency and affordability of solar technology.

The $12 million Solar Facility located at Swinburne's Hawthorn campus contains world-class infrastructure for research and development using nanophotonics, nanomaterials and nanoplasmonics.

The facility provides a platform for the commercialisation of NanoPlas, a revolutionary nanoplasmonic solar cell technology being developed at Swinburne. The team's strong mix of research and business expertise puts it in a unique position to research, develop and commercialise the innovative solar cell technology. 

In 2013, the solar facility received a $4 million grant under the Science and Industry Endowment Fund for a project to push the efficiency of nanoplasmic solar cell technology. Four external partners provided in-kind support for the project: Stanford University, Suntech R&D Australia, Taifeng Group Co. Ltd and Anwell Precision Ltd. Researchers from Swinburne and the CSIRO are using the funding to take NanoPlas from the lab to a small scale pilot project.

NanoPlas technology addresses the biggest challenge of thin film solar cells: the cost-effectiveness, making building-integratable solar cells a more viable technology for the building sector. Integrating solar cells with buildings is an attractive concept for the building industry because it potentially allows skyscrapers to self-power themselves with purely green solar energy. 

The technology also has the potential to make solar energy more competitive in the household electricity supply market.