Friday, 02 October 2020 09:27

$15.4 million in funding allocated to solar panel research Featured

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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded $15.14 million in funding to 16 research projects to help address solar PV panel efficiency, overall cost reductions and end-of-life issues.

The funding has been awarded to research teams from six Australian universities including the Australian National University, Macquarie University, University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, University of Sydney and Swinburne University.

ARENA initially opened the application in December last year with a $15 million commitment and the round received over 50 applications with a total project value of over $150 million.

ARENA said on Friday that the two-year R&D projects will support solar PV in areas including:

  • advanced silicon: improvements to the overall cost-effectiveness of silicon-based panels already in mass market production, and their production processes

  • tandem silicon: increasing the cost-effectiveness of silicon-based solar PV through the use of tandem materials

  • new materials: development of new materials with the potential to either reach breakthrough cost-efficiencies, or the potential for new deployment applications

  • end-of-life: new solutions, including upfront solar PV panel designs and end of life processing, that increase the cost-effectiveness of sustainable end-of-life management of solar PV panels.


According to ARENA, the 16 projects selected will strengthen Australia’s “world-leading” solar PV R&D sector that it has helped establish through previous funding.

“This is the first time that ARENA has sought applications for addressing solutions to end-of-life solar PV issues. It is anticipated in excess of 50 full time equivalent positions will be created across the 16 projects,” ARENA says.

In addition to end-of-life issues, ARENA says selected projects will also aim to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of solar PV for new or established applications and develop new materials with the potential to either reach breakthrough cost-efficiencies, or the potential for new deployment applications.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said it was “fantastic to see so much interest in the latest solar R&D round”.

“We’re very pleased with the level of interest which is reflected in the great variety of projects across the priority areas, particularly in the Advanced Silicon field where Australia leads the world,” Miller said.

“A key part of the funding round was finding a solution to the end-of-life of solar panels and we’re excited to see some interesting new research into this area. It’s an important part in our transition to renewable energy as we need to ensure that materials used in solar panels can be recycled or repurposed for future use.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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