Dr Zhengrong Shi shared his startup story with our Founders, from PhD student at UNSW to Founder of Suntech, the world’s largest producer of photovoltaic panels.  Dr Shi described the ups and downs of his journey and the challenges with scaling up and finance and offered our Founders warm and encouraging support to pursue their passion for what business solutions can deliver.


Dr Zhengrong Shi, founder of Suntech, the world’s largest manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (solar PV) panels, was at UNE discussing the intersection between solar energy and technologies to boost agricultural production.

An inventor, scholar and entrepreneur, Dr Shi was introduced to UNE when he shared his insights on the future of energy with UNE Business students on tour in Shanghai last year.

Dr Shi also has a personal interest in sustainable agriculture. “Australia should be the best place on Earth to provide food in a sustainable way,” he said.

His visit to UNE followed his acceptance of an invitation from Dr Lou Conway, Partnerships and Business Development Manager with the UNE Business School, to visit the University and hear first-hand about the developments in renewable energy and agtech in the New England.

Researchers and start-up entrepreneurs shared their work with Dr Shi, and where they see future opportunities for linkages between renewables and agtech.

“We were privileged to have someone of Dr Shi’s experience and knowledge visit us and share some of his insights,” Dr Conway said.

“He left very interested in the potential for renewable technologies to support the agtech revolution, and we hope that we can build further alliances with him around this area.”