ARENA issues funding for 16 solar R&D projects

solar pv perovskite cells
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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded $15.14 million in funding to 16 solar pv research projects.

The aim is to help address solar PV panel efficiency, overall cost reductions and end-of-life issues.

The projects 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.

The two-year research and development projects will focus on 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.

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Six Australian universities including the Australian National University, Macquarie University, University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, University of Sydney and Swinburne University will benefit from the funding.

The 16 projects selected will strengthen Australia’s world-leading solar PV research and development sector that ARENA has helped establish through its previous funding.

Over 50 full-time equivalent positions will be created across the 16 projects.

This is the first time that ARENA has sought applications for addressing solutions to end-of-life solar PV issues.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller, said: “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.

“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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