A CSIRO solar thermal research hub

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has announced $21.5 million in funding for 12 new solar research and development at an event held at the University of New South Wales in Sydney today (Tuesday).

Launching the project, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry Bob Baldwin said the ARENA funding was being matched by domestic and international industry investment, with total value of more than $70 million.

The projects include research into high efficiency perovskite cells, lithium-sulfur batteries for large-scale energy storage and novel concepts for low cost small heliostats in remote installations.

“These projects represent the very best of the best,” Mr Baldwin said. “They were selected from a highly competitive R&D round promoting excellence in solar research, and are set to advance renewable energy knowledge and expertise in Australia.

“The research is primarily focused on improving performance and reducing manufacturing costs and will help improve the cost of deploying renewable energy in Australia.”

Mr Baldwin said Australia was a world leader in photovoltaic and concentration solar thermal technologies, with researchers achieving world records last year in both fields.

“We are a clever country and it’s no surprise our home-grown researchers are working on cutting-edge solutions that take advantage of our abundant solar resources,” he said.

“Australia is already ticking boxes when it comes to exporting its renewable energy technologies and know-how to the world.

“This investment will ensure we continue to grow this important export base as well as advancing the nation’s technological capability and reputation for delivering groundbreaking renewable energy solutions that will ensure a diverse energy future for Australia.”

The 12 projects to receive funding through the first round of ARENA’s Research & Development program were selected from 110 applications in a competitive process that saw applications vetted and ranked against one another. Successful projects come from the Australian National University, the UNSW, CSIRO and the University of Technology Sydney.

All projects: