Australia awards AUD$15m to research cheap and eco-friendly solar panels

The funding will support projects that will develop new materials and find ways to improve the end-of-life management of solar panels

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has awarded AUD$15m (£8.3m) to sixteen projects aimed at making solar panels cheaper and more sustainable.

The funding will support the work of scientific teams from six Australian universities.

The awarded projects aim to improve the cost-effectiveness of silicon-based panels by discovering new materials and finding new ways to make the end-of-life management of solar panels more sustainable.

The researchers plan to manufacture panels from more abundant materials and achieve higher levels of efficiency.

Three of the sixteen projects will consider ways to improve the reuse of resources within solar panels, including how materials can be more easily recovered and remanufactured.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “A key part of the funding round was finding a solution to the end-of-life of solar panels and we’re excited to see some interesting new research into this area. It’s an important part of our transition to renewable energy as we need to ensure that materials used in solar panels can be recycled or repurposed for future use.”

Australian households have already installed more than 2.5 million rooftop solar systems.

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