ANSTO’s Australian Synchrotron Goes Solar for a Greener Future


More than 3,200 solar panels have been installed across the rooftops of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Australian Synchrotron in Clayton, offsetting enough power to light up the whole MCG for more than five years.

The panels, covering an area of nearly 6,600m², including the large and iconic circular roof of the main building that hosts the powerful particle accelerator, will save ANSTO over two million kWh per year while also reducing its carbon footprint by over 1,680 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Director for ANSTO’s Australian Synchrotron, Professor Michael James said the benefit of driving down operating costs is paralleled by ANSTO’s ongoing commitment to a greener future.

“This investment in renewable technology is just one way we can meet our own sustainability goals while also contributing to a cleaner and greener environment,” Prof. James said.

“Electricity is one of our largest operating costs, so our new solar plant will deliver substantial savings and also act as a buffer against increasing energy overheads in the future.

“The reduction in our carbon footprint is enough to offset the running of 367 family-sized cars each year.”

The installation of a 1,668 kWh system and inverter will supply part of the Australian Synchrotron’s total energy requirements and is expected to deliver savings of around $2 million over a five-year period to 2029.

“The saved running costs will be used to support operations as well as the expansion of our research capabilities and facilities,” Prof. James said.

“Going solar was a no-brainer. The size of our rooftops, paired with the ample, uninterrupted exposure to sunlight at our location within the Monash precinct, was a major incentive for us to become more energy efficient.

“While our science facility operates 24 hours per day, during daylight hours, the new solar plant provides a cyclical way to harness the power of light – from the sun to help power our facilities, that in turn, allows us to generate brilliant beams of synchrotron light that are more than a million times brighter than the light from the sun.

“Some of those brilliant beams of synchrotron light are even used to undertake research into the next generation of solar cell technology.”

The solar panel installation, completed over a five-month period, covers the rooftops of the main Australian Synchrotron building, the Australian Synchrotron Guesthouse, and the Environmentally Controlled Storage Facility.

The program comes amidst a large expansion of the Australian Synchrotron facility, including the $100 million BRIGHT Program to construct an additional eight new beamlines for scientific research, and a partnership with Monash University’s Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre to construct a purpose-built laboratory facility to support health research and Australia’s pharmaceutical manufacturing sector.

The Australian Synchrotron solar panel installation supports ANSTO’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy to reduce its grid electricity dependency by 20 per cent by 2035. This initiative also plays a pivotal role in ANSTO’s commitment of achieving net zero by 2030, by supplementing power usage with renewable energy technologies.

ANSTO's Australian Synchrotron before the installation of solar panels

ANSTO's Australian Synchrotron with solar panels on the roof

ANSTO's Australian Synchrotron with solar panels on the roof

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