Suntech has supplied 384kW of its Pluto solar modules for a rooftop solar array on The Wharf, which is home to the Sydney Theatre Company (STC). The project was completed using a AUT$2 million donation from ‘Shi’s Family Foundation,’ representing Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s founder, chairman, and CEO and his wife Vivienne Shi. Integrated by DCM Solar, the 1,906 solar panels comprise one of the largest capacity rooftop solar arrays in Sydney and Australia.
The solar installation’s completion was commemorated at a switch-on event hosted by STC Artistic Directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton. “Theatre has always been a place to stimulate visionary conversations and practical action. Now that this immense solar array is operating here at Sydney Theatre Company, we hope it will inspire others, including the hundreds of thousands of people who pass through the Company each year, to take their own steps in tackling the challenges of climate change. We would like to thank Dr. Zhengrong Shi for his extraordinary commitment to the project which gives back so much to the country and city where he trained,” said the actors.
The installation was commissioned alongside STC’s ‘Greening the Wharf initiative,’ which is aimed at improving the environmental impact of the company. The 384kW solar array, coupled with other energy efficiency improvements, will provide approximately 70% of the theatre company’s electricity consumption.
“Twenty years ago, while performing solar research at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), few people believed that solar technology could ever power a building such as The Wharf,” said Shi. “Suntech’s work in commercialising advanced solar technology is making solar economically-viable for millions of people in Australia and around the world. This project demonstrates that anyone today can look up and harness nature’s original source of energy and life.”
The Pluto solar cell technology utilized for STC’s solar installation was developed by Suntech through its long-term research partnership with UNSW. Suntech invests several million dollars each year in collaborations with leading Australian solar research institutions, including UNSW and Swinburne University of Technology, as well as through its Sydney subsidiary CSG Solar.