ARENA is providing $21.5 million funding for 12 cutting edge projects through the first round of its Research & Development program, which is focused on solar excellence.

The R&D program supports R&D projects that will advance the commercial deployment of renewable energy technology in Australia.

“These are the top 12 projects from a very competitive round where 110 applications were received, peer-reviewed and ranked against one another,” said ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht.

“The research will complement ARENA’s existing suite of solar projects, which is already delivering more efficient technologies and helping to reduce costs associated with the deployment of renewable energy in Australia.

“ARENA’s investment is being matched by substantial contributions from domestic and international partners, resulting in projects totalling more than $70 million.

“These projects will extend Australia’s world-leading research position in solar R&D and deliver economic benefits by generating Australian-owned IP in potentially game-changing technologies.”

Mr Frischknecht said the projects ranged from enhancing existing technologies to advancing emerging technologies in solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, and solar storage. They all aim to significantly reduce the cost or increase the efficiency of solar power.

ARENA is keen to facilitate greater collaboration between the research sector and industry in the next round of the R&D program in 2015.

Mr Frischknecht said building and maintaining strong links between researchers and industry – including manufacturers, generators, and distribution companies – would help meet the challenges facing Australia’s energy market and future energy supply.

“Strong collaboration between research and industry will help ensure Australia’s world-class renewable energy knowledge is translated into commercial outcomes and increase the economic, social and environmental return on investment in R&D,” Mr Frischknecht said.

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