Australia invests $20 million in solar PV research and development
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will commit AUS$20 million towards the research and development of solar PV, in a bid to make solar more affordable, efficient, and competitive
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will commit AUS$20 million towards the research and development of solar photovoltaic (PV), in a bid to make solar more affordable, efficient, and competitive.
On Tuesday 23 May, ARENA announced its third competitive research and development funding round.
Since 2012, ARENA has committed AUS$109.3 million in funding to solar PV research and development projects, fellowships, and scholarships – helping to break 14 separate solar efficiency world records.
Ivor Frischknecht, CEO of ARENA, stated that the funding would help reduce the future cost of solar PV.
He said: “This dedicated research and development funding for solar PV is part of our commitment to finding and supporting further breakthroughs in solar PV.”
He went on to say: “Australia has some of the best solar PV researchers in the world, and we want to build what we’ve already accomplished. This leverage the impressive gains already made in cost reduction and cell efficiency. And that is just the beginning. We see a future where solar cells might be on every surface.”
Earlier this month, ARENA published its Investment Plan, which identified accelerating solar PV innovation as one of its key priorities for the coming years.
Specifically, the plan details the government’s agency’s desire to accelerate solar PV innovation and development to the point where the technology could provide 30 per cent of Australia’s electricity within the next two decades.
Mr Frischknecht said: “By continuing to support innovation in solar PV, we believe that solar power could produce more than 30 per cent of Australia’s electricity within 15 years.”
The funding round will be open to Australian solar PV researchers undertaking projects focussed on emerging and established solar PV cell and modules technologies, ARENA said in a statement.
ARENA expects to award grants of between AUS$500,000 and AUS$5 million for any single project.
“We are calling for research projects that demonstrate the potential to lower the cost of materials or improve performance that will reduce costs or increase efficiency,” Mr Frischknecht added.
The funding round will open from 24 May 2017 until 21 June 2017.
The news follows the announcement that large-scale renewable energy investment increased fivefold in 2016 compared to the previous year, to over 2,000 megawatts (MW).
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