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New project aims to create zero-emission homes

13th Sep 2011

A new project aims to lead the way in creating a future where Australians can live and work in zero-emission homes and businesses.

It is hoped that the venture will bring leading local researchers together with the energy industry and bring about a more competitive solar power future.

The project is a joint initiative between The Australian Solar Institute (ASI) and the Ministry for Resources and Energy.

ASI will pledge a $3.2 million grant, with a government contribution bringing the total to $9.5 million.

Researchers from the Australian National University, CSIRO and the University of New South Wales will collaborate with industry partners - Chromasun and NEP Solar.

Mark Twidell, chief executive officer of ASI, says: "This project offers great potential to make solar energy competitive by delivering solar driven electricity, heating and cooling from one system direct to where it will be used at a price that competes with traditional retail energy."

Twidell believes that support for such projects is necessary to keep Australia at the forefront of solar technology research and development on a global scale.

The intended goal of the project is to develop a single product that can be applied to the majority of buildings across the country.

Benefits of a single system that can convert solar energy into both thermal and electrical energy will be far-reaching - providing a complete solar solution for residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

Twidell says: "The innovation combines the best of Australian solar photovoltaic technology and
solar thermal technology to deliver a cost-effective complete solar energy solution for homes and businesses. "

Widespread adoption of solar panel technology will be the key to the country meeting its 2020 target, with renewable energy deemed a viable alternative to traditional coal-fired power.

"Ultimately, this innovation could pave the way for millions of zero emission buildings across Australia and the world," Twidell asserts.

Current products on the market have been benefitting consumers by converting the sun's rays into electricity, allowing them to generate their own power for use throughout the home.

Rooftop solar panel systems are ideal as they can be mounted on existing roof space that isn't being used.

Households can enjoy the benefits of having their own energy source in the home through a decrease in reliance on electricity suppliers, meaning a drop in household energy bills.

Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent

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