The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced a $20 million funding round to propel solar photovoltaic (PV) research and development. ARENA’s third competitive research and development funding round seeks to drive innovation to make solar PV more affordable, more efficient and more competitive.
ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht said this would help reduce the future cost of solar PV. “This dedicated research and development funding for solar PV is part of our commitment to finding and supporting further breakthroughs in solar PV,” he said.
“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,” he said.
Since 2012, ARENA has committed $109.3 million in funding to solar PV R&D projects, fellowships and scholarships. ARENA funding has helped to break 14 solar efficiency world records. Earlier this month, AREA launched its Investment Plan, which sets out accelerating solar PV innovation as one of the top priorities for the coming years.
“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,” Mr Frischknecht said. 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 expects to award grants of between $500,000 and $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,” he said.
The funding round will open from 24 May 2017 until 21 June 2017. Funding guidelines will be available from ARENA’s website on 24 May 2017. Information sessions will be held in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne in early June 2017.