Australian PV research center secures A$45m government funding

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The center is a federally funded initiative of ARENA. Image: ARENA via Twitter.

The Australian Center for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) has received funding from the country’s new government to continue its solar research activities until 2030.

A$45 million (US$31 million) in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will extend the work of the center as it strives to develop next-generation photovoltaic technologies .

Delivered by the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), ACAP includes research groups from Australia’s science agency CSIRO, the Australian National University, from the University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Sydney and Monash University.

ARENA’s support will allow ACAP to continue its research into more efficient and powerful technologies, said UNSW’s Professor Martin Green. “The next decade promises to be the most exciting and significant solar photovoltaic decade ever, with massively increased technology adoption and change,” he added.

ARENA touted ACAP’s track record of industry partnerships, fostering the spin-out of companies such as solar tech start-up SunDrive, as well as its collaborations with innovators such as solar solutions maker prefabricated 5B and RayGena start-up that has developed a new way of combining PV, concentrated solar power and thermal energy storage.

ACAP has also partnered with Sun Cable to improve the efficiency of the company’s photovoltaic plants as it moves forward with a project in the Northern Territory that could feature up to 20 GWp of solar power.

ACAP’s new director, Professor Renate Egan, said the new funding will support around 20 researchers and more than 65 new students each year, adding: “We look forward to working with ARENA to deliver solar technologies to low cost thanks to ongoing research. ”

The news comes after ARENA launched A$40 million in funding earlier this year to support research into ultra-low-cost solar energy.

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