ARENA’s 30-30-30 Whitepaper For PV Technology

Australia Seeks To Elevate Solar PV To National Priority By Supporting Quest For Ultra Low Cost Potential

ARENA’s 30-30-30 Whitepaper For PV Technology

ARENA’s whitepaper aims for the country to work towards achieving 30% solar module efficiency, at an installed cost of $0.30/W by 2030. (Illustrative Photo; Photo Credit: Agent Wolf/

  • ARENA’s whitepaper lists the challenges and opportunities for Australia with ultra low-cost solar PV technology
  • It presents a roadmap the country needs to follow to achieve the 30-30-30 target and for Australia to become a renewable energy superpower
  • The agency has also announced a grant for APVI to conduct research into scaling up the country’s solar PV manufacturing industry

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has released a white paper to present a roadmap for ultra low-cost solar and calls for urgent action to bring down the solar levelized cost of energy (LCOE) to under AUD 20.0/MWh from around AUD 50.0- AUD 60.0/MWh today.

Its 30-30-30 vision stands for 30% solar module efficiency, up from around 22% today, at an installed cost of $0.30/W by 2030 (see Australia Funds 13 Projects To Support Low Cost Solar Research).

Titled The Incredible ULCS: How ultra low-cost solar can unlock Australia’s renewable energy superpower, the whitepaper aims to elevate PV in Australia’s national priorities by outlining benefits of extremely cheap solar. The objective is also to communicate key barriers and innovation priorities for ultra low-cost solar to governments, industry and general public.

The agency claims the country’s homegrown innovations and increasing scale have already brought down the cost of solar PV by 85% over the last decade, but there is scope for much more. Supported by critical enablers as energy storage, flexible demand, transmission and grid connection, ultra low-cost solar PV can help produce green hydrogen below $2/kg which can then be exported, making Australia the renewable energy superpower.

While Australia has an advantage in terms of huge land mass, strong solar resources and abundance of minerals, ARENA CEO Darren Miller says the country now needs to step up support to ensure further cost reductions following the 30-30-30 vision.

The paper is primarily focused on the utility scale market. Some of the other main points highlighted in the whitepaper are:

  • Innovation is an important piece of the puzzle to make solar PV ultra low-cost, with the governments, market bodies and all stakeholders committing to the cause.
  • It also needs non-technology enablers such as scaling up local supply chains, improving end-of-life management for solar panels, rapid expansion of the workforce, and ensuring offtake certainty.
  • Securing social license, or increasing the acceptance for solar through community engagement, is crucial to avoid conflict.

“We need a united front to tackle this task. We’re calling on Australia’s governments, market bodies, developers, investors and innovators across the entire supply chain to commit to these goals, stated Miller.

Australia has installed close to 10 GW large scale and 19 GW rooftop solar capacity. It has a development pipeline of around 100 GW, but this needs a significant step up in capacity to reach net zero by 2050, according to the white paper.

Grant for APVI

ARENA has also announced a grant of AUD 541,640 ($366,395) for Australian PV Institute (APVI) under its AUD 1.12 million ($0.76 million) Silicon to Solar study. APVI will look at options to increase Australian solar PV manufacturing with diversified supply chains and policy options.

Ultra low-cost solar can help Australia achieve over 1 TW of installed capacity, according to ARENA’s assessment which will be possible with more secure solar supply chains. The APVI study cover these subjects in the light of techno-commercial, social and regulatory barriers, in close association with industry stakeholders.

The Silicon to Solar study also has other study partners including Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP), 5B, AGL, Aspiradac, Energus, Siemens, SunDrive and Tindo Solar.

In March 2023, the Australian government announced a AUD 15 billion National Reconstruction Fund to back solar panels and battery production, inspired by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of the US (see Australia’s Response To Inflation Reduction Act).

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

SENIOR NEWS EDITOR Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews, she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power. In the past 9 years that she has been associated with TaiyangNews, she has covered over thousands of stories, and analysis pieces on markets, technology, financials, and more on a daily basis. She also hosts TaiyangNews Conferences and Webinars. Prior to joining TaiyangNews, Anu reported on sustainability, management, and education for leading print dailies in India. [email protected]

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