Australia will extend its world-leading development of solar panel technology with $45 million in new funding for research into ultra low-cost systems.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen has signed off on Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funding for the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics to extend its cutting-edge research to 2030.
Australia’s solar innovation was already “the envy of the world”, Mr Bowen said on Friday.
But further research led by the University of NSW-led centre will support cleaner, cheaper power for the country and the world, he said.
The solar research program supports the agency’s goal to improve solar photovoltaic (PV) cell efficiency to 30 per cent and reduce the cost of installation of solar modules to 30 cents per watt by 2030.
Centre director Martin Green said the next decade promised to be the most important in solar cell development, with 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,” he said.
Mr Bowen said 90 per cent of the world’s solar panels were made using technology developed by a UNSW team led by Professor Green.
Over the past decade, the centre has brought together scientists from CSIRO and several universities to improve the technology and drive costs down.
ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said the funding boost would also help to lower the input costs for green hydrogen, low-emissions metals and other large-scale clean energy technology as the Australian economy moved towards its net zero targets.
“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,” he said.
“Ultra low-cost solar will be key to enabling Australia’s energy transition and emissions reduction efforts.”