A building-integrated photovoltaic thermal system by BlueScope Steel that received funding from ARENA under a separate program.

Integration of renewable energy into buildings or building materials will be one of the key focus areas of new funding announced by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for industry-partnered projects seeking to develop and commercialise renewable energy technologies.

The $20 million in funding is part of the second round of ARENA’s R&D program, which aims to enable renewable energy technologies to become competitive with traditional energy sources, with successful projects expected to receive between $500,000 and $5 million in support.

The buildings R&D funding will go to projects progressing the development of innovative renewable technologies for building integrated applications such as roofing, walls, windows and paint; or for HVAC systems.

“This round will support industry and research partnerships to deliver R&D projects with practical applications and commercially oriented outcomes that integrate renewable energy into networks, buildings and industrial processes,” ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said.

“ARENA understands the importance of supporting R&D projects to drive innovation and advance renewable energy technologies and solutions suited to the 21st century. ARENA is not, however, in the business of investing in research for the sake of research; our goal with this R&D round is to further align our investment in research and development with the needs of industry.”

Mr Frischknecht said ARENA had sought input from key industry and research stakeholders to identify R&D priorities that could help meet the challenges facing Australia’s energy market and future energy supply.

“Proposed projects must address one of four priority technology areas and develop industry-research partnerships with at least one eligible Australian research institution and at least one industry partner,” he said.

Other technology focuses are:

  • Balance of System cost reduction (either on-grid or off-grid)
  • Integration and high penetration of renewables into networks (either on-grid, off-grid or mini-grids)
  • Integration of renewable energy for industrial process (excluding electricity generation)

Information sessions will be held in capital cities over the coming weeks.

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