$29m boost for so­lar re­search

The Australian Energy Review - - NEWS - CAMERON DRUMMOND

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.

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