$29m boost for solar research
THE Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has been awarded $29.2 million in funding by the Federal Government for 20 research projects to propel solar photovoltaic (PV) technology development. The funding was offered to research teams from the University of New South Wales, Australian National University, Monash University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The move marks ARENA’S third round of research and development (R&D) funding and will support early-stage research to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of solar PV; from creating flexible solar devices to making semi-transparent, high-efficiency solar cells for integrating into windows. Most of the projects will focus on silicon technologies, as the majority of soilmaragpea: n//e/ls worldwide are currently made using silicon. Together with contributions from industry partners and institutions from Asia, Europe and the US, the total value of the projects is about $102m. ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said Australian innovation was already built into many silicon solar panels made globally. “Australia is leading the world in solar PV research and development,” Mr Frischknecht said. “Over the past five years, ARENA has funded breakthroughs which have helped make solar PV competitive with wind power and we want to take that even further. “In this funding round, the candidates and the calibre was so high, we actually increased the total funding we awarded to nearly $30m. “This research will improve the technological and commercial readiness of new innovation in solar PV cells and modules, enhance Australia’s position as world-leaders in solar PV R&D and address Australian-specific conditions,” he said.