Printed solar panels developed in NSW could help solve the energy crisis crippling the state and the country.
The organic printed solar cells are made from electronic inks created by University of Newcastle physicist Professor Paul Dastoor who says their installation on a commercial property near Newcastle is an Australian-first.
The material delivers "unprecedented affordability" at a production cost of less than $10 per square metre and is one solution to the country's energy crisis, Prof Dastoor said.
"We are changing the climate, we know it's because burning fossil fuels and we have to shift to renewables, even if leaders in Canberra can't understand that," he told AAP.
"This technology has the potential to be enormously scalable ... it's fast, it's low cost and doesn't require anything special."
The inks create an electric charge when light is shined on them and are printed onto thin recyclable plastic sheets using standard printers.
The ultra-lightweight laminate material is similar in texture and flexibility to a potato chip packet and is secured with double-sided tape.
The process is completed in-house at the University of Newcastle's Institute for Energy and Resources facility which allows for hundreds of metres of material to be produced in one day.
Prof Dastoor believes a commercial-scale printer would increase this output to kilometres, making it the fastest renewable energy technology to manufacture.
"The low cost and speed at which this technology can be deployed is exciting as we need to find solutions, and quickly, to reduce demand on base-load power - a renewed concern as we approach another summer here in Australia," he said.
Nearly 200 square metres has been installed in an "Australian-first" on an industrial site owned by logistics company CHEP in Beresfield, near Newcastle.
The cells will be removed in six months so Prof Dastoor can investigate the best way to recycle the material to manufacture new solar cells.
It's the first step in the physicist's goal to see all Australian roofs covered with the panels and is the final stop before the technology becomes widely available.
Australian Associated Press