The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $20 million in funding for solar photovoltaic (PV) research and development.

This is ARENA’s third competitive research and development funding round which seeks to drive innovation to make solar PV more affordable, more efficient and more competitive.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht said this would help reduce the future cost of solar PV.

“This dedicated research and development funding for solar PV is part of our commitment to finding and supporting further breakthroughs in solar PV.

“Australia has some of the best solar PV researchers in the world, and we want to build what we’ve already accomplished. This leverage the impressive gains already made in cost reduction and cell efficiency. And that is just the beginning. We see a future where solar cells might be on every surface,” Mr Frischnecht said.

Since 2012, ARENA has committed $109.3 million in funding to solar PV R&D projects, fellowships and scholarships. ARENA funding has helped to break 14 solar efficiency world records.

ARENA has previously launched its Investment Plan, which sets out accelerating solar PV innovation as one of the top priorities for the coming years.

“By continuing to support innovation in solar PV, we believe that solar power could produce more than 30 per cent of Australia’s electricity within 15 years,” Mr Frischknecht said.

The funding round will be open to Australian solar PV researchers undertaking projects focused on emerging and established solar PV cell and modules technologies. ARENA expects to award grants of between $500,000 and $5 million for any single project.

“We are calling for research projects that demonstrate the potential to lower the cost of materials or improve performance that will reduce costs or increase efficiency,” Mr Frischnecht said.

Elisa is an experienced industry journalist and is a regular contributor to a range of energy and infrastructure titles. She has a unique knack for quickly finding the angle in any story her audience is most interested in learning more about.

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