The University of Queensland (UQ) have outlined their carbon reduction and sustainability plan and have placed a strong focus on generating energy through solar power. From the construction of a 3.3MW solar photovoltaic research facility at their Gatton campus, to individual solar projects that feed into their own mini-grid, UQ are at the forefront of solar power generation, and are the largest solar generator among Australian universities.

The Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence (PACE) located in Woolloongabba, close to the heart of the Brisbane CBD, is the primary teaching location for students studying Pharmacy at The University of Queensland. The PACE concept was jointly developed by The University and the whole profession in 2000, and creates a leading facility for pharmaceutical research, education and commercialisation. PACE creates a new and unique health and medical precinct, with particular focus on pharmacy and pharmaceutical science.

As part of UQ’s larger solar power program, SOLAR HYBRIDS designed and installed the solar system on the rooftops of level 6 and level 8, using a crane to lift all the equipment on to the rooves. The large PV array consists of 676 x 335 watt solar panels with a combined capacity of 226kWp.

The solar panels are connected via 676 SolarEdge DC Optimisers to 8 x SolarEdge 3- Phase inverters. The Optimisers are small electronic devices installed beneath each solar panel that enable panel-level monitoring and ensures each module panel is continually kept at maximum power point. Electricity losses due to mismatch or partial shading conditions are also kept to a minimum through the use of SolarEdge Optimisers. Additionally, this SolarEdge system also provides a superior level of safety. The DC-DC optimisers revert to ‘extra low voltage’ when the system is switched off during daylight hours. If an accident occurs, the system will automatically isolate to safe mode once the communications link is breached or the system is shutdown. This allows firefighters to operate safely and use water to push back a flame front.

The Solar Hybrids team designed the system, procured the components, and project-managed the build from start to finish, ensuring a successful implementation of the highest quality system with minimal disruption to the centre’s operations. More than one year on, here is what Andrew Wilson of the university had to say regarding this system:

“Years before Solar Hybrids installed this system, we (The University of Queensland) had also installed several other large SolarEdge systems across other buildings on various campuses. To date, I do not recall any failures across any of these systems, but I do recall Solar Hybrids found an under-performing solar module several months after the commissioning of the above system, thanks to the on-line individual panel performance monitoring that the system incorporates. Solar Hybrids quickly changed out the solar module under the manufacturer’s warranty. We are very happy with all our SolarEdge systems; they are very safe and effective commercial solar power systems.”

—- Andrew Wilson, Manager Energy & Sustainability, Oct 2018, University of Queensland, Brisbane

This solar installation adds to the University’s already impressive track record of solar projects and sustainability efforts. To find out more about this impressive solar installation, visit the university’s case study webpage.

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