Australian PV research centre secures AU$45m in government funding

The centre is a federally funded initiative by ARENA. Image: ARENA via Twitter.

The Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) has received funding from the country’s new government to continue its solar research activities until 2030.

Funding of AU$45 million (US$31 million), delivered by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), will extend the centre’s work as it strives to develop next-generation PV technologies.

Delivered by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, ACAP includes research groups at Australia’s science agency CSIRO, Australian National University, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Sydney and Monash University.

ARENA’s support will allow ACAP to continue its research into more efficient and powerful technologies, said UNSW Professor Martin Green. “The next decade promises to be the most exciting and important in solar PV, ever, with massively increased uptake and technological change,” he added.

ARENA touted ACAP’s record of industry partnerships, fostering the spin-out of companies such as solar technology start-up SunDrive, as well as its collaborations with innovators such as prefabricated solar solutions manufacturer 5B and RayGen, a start-up that has developed a novel way of combining PV, concentrated solar power and thermal energy storage.

ACAP has also teamed up with Sun Cable to improve the efficiency of the firm’s PV plants as it progresses with a project in the Northern Territory that could feature up to 20GWp of solar.

Incoming ACAP director, Professor Renate Egan, said the new funding will support around 20 research fellows and more than 65 new students each year, adding: “We’re looking forward to working with ARENA to deliver low-cost solar technologies through ongoing research.”

The news comes after ARENA launched a AU$40 million funding round earlier this year to support research into ultra-low-cost solar.

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