ARENA will invest A$20 million into solar photovoltaic (PV) research and development to make the technology more efficient and more affordable.
ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht said the funding – to be awarded under the agency’s third competitive R&D funding round – 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.
ARENA has committed $109.3 million in funding to solar PV R&D projects, fellowships and scholarships over the last five years, helping to break 14 solar efficiency word records in the process.
Mr Frischknecht said the agency’s Investment Plan, which launched earlier this month, aims to further accelerate solar innovation in 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 added.
ARENA’s third competitive R&D funding round, which will open from 24 May 2017 until 21 June 2017, envisions awarding grants of between $500,000 and $5 million for any single project focussed on emerging and established solar PV cell and modules technologies.
“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 concluded.