The Australian National University has received $4.7 million in new funding for renewable energy research in the latest Australian Renewable Energy Agency industry-researcher collaboration funding round.

The projects will help develop a system to estimate the power produced by rooftop solar PV in a given area, examine how robots could capture data for solar PV installation diagnostics, and examine how consumers can take charge of their energy use through batteries, while simultaneously being rewarded for helping manage the electricity grid.

“Capturing a third of the ARENA grants in this area recognises the groundbreaking work that is being done at ANU,” director of the ANU Energy Change Institute Professor Ken Baldwin said.

“As electricity from renewable energy continues to grow, integrating renewables into the grid becomes more and more vital.

“Australia already leads the world in the take-up of residential roof-top solar, and there is massive potential for growth in large-scale solar power stations given our vast solar resources.”

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said the funding round would create clear pathways for renewable energy technologies to move from the laboratory to field by fostering collaboration between research institutions and industry.

“Each successful project is focused on delivering commercially viable solutions, aimed at solving a current industry challenges,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“The rich array of industry partners shows the breadth of sectors that will be involved in the transformation of Australia’s energy networks and systems.”

Other projects funded under the $17 million round include:

  • Integrating Concentrating Solar Thermal Energy into the Bayer Alumina Process, University of Adelaide
  • Smart sodium storage system for renewable energy storage, University of Wollongong
  • Utilising biogas in sugarcane transport and milling, Queensland University of Technology
  • Wave energy cost reduction through location and configuration optimisation, University of Western Australia
  • Increasing the uptake of solar PV in strata residential developments, Curtin University
  • Maximising solar PV with phase change thermal energy storage, University of South Australia
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