Bright future for Australian solar research with $45m funding boost

The funding will extend operations of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics in conducting solar research to 2030

Big Zero Report 2022

Research scientists in Australia are receiving a funding boost of up to AUD$45 million (£25.5m) to drive innovation in ultra low cost solar.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced the funding for the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) to extend operations of its solar research to 2030.

Led by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), ACAP brings together leading solar research institutes from across Australia, including research groups at CSIRO, Australian National University, University of Melbourne and Monash University.

ACAP aims to deliver “over the horizon” solar technology to create a pipeline of improved technology for increased performance and ongoing cost reductions.

The centre’s research programme supports ARENA’s goal of Solar 30 30 30 to improve solar cell efficiency to 30% and reduce the cost of installation to 30 cents a watt by 2030.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “For Australia to really succeed in a net zero world, we need to see continued innovation in solar PV to power the rest of the energy transition.

“Ultra low cost solar will be key to enabling Australia’s energy transition and emissions reduction efforts, as it will help to lower the input costs for green hydrogen, low emissions metals and other large scale clean energy opportunities across all sectors as we move to net zero.”

The solar technology developed by Professor Martin Green at UNSW is said to be embedded in 90% of the current silicon module solar panel production worldwide and his ‘Solar Superman’ research has supported Australia in holding world records for efficiency for 30 of the last 38 years.

Mr Green added: “The next decade promises to be the most exciting and important in solar PV, ever, with massively increased uptake and technological change.

“With ARENA’s support, we will continue our world class technology development including more efficient and powerful cell technologies, and growing a sustainable solar sector at scale.”

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