- ARENA has announced AUD 45 million funding enabling UNSW developed ACAP to continue its research on solar PV till 2030
- ACAP’s research supports ARENA’s Solar 30 30 30 goal under which the latter targets to achieve AUD 0.30 per W total solar cost by 2030
- Funding will enable ACAP to support 30 research fellows and over 65 new students annually
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has committed up to AUD 45 million funding for the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) to support its ‘cutting-edge’ solar PV research on achieving ultra-low-cost solar PV and extending its operations until 2030.
ACAP won the funding, which is still subject to approval of the federal government, in response to a AUD 40 million call launched by ARENA in January 2022 (see Australia’s AUD 40 Million Solar Funding Opportunity).
ARENA said ACAP’s research program supports its goal to improve solar PV cell efficiency to 30% and reduce cost of installation of solar modules to AUD 0.30 per W by 2030, dubbed as Solar 30 30 30.
“Ultra-low cost solar will be key to enabling Australia’s energy transition and emissions reduction efforts, as it will help to lower the input costs for green hydrogen, low emissions metals and other large scale clean energy opportunities across all sectors as we move to net zero,” explained ARENA CEO Darren Miller.
ACAP is developed by the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), with a view to provide an institutional framework for a national approach to PV research in the country. It includes PV research groups at CSIRO, Australian National University (ANU), the universities of Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Monash.
The funding amount secured will enable ACAP to support around 30 research fellows and over 65 new students annually. “Importantly, these students become the skilled engineers that the industry needs to deliver the transition to a low carbon future,” said Incoming ACAP Director Professor Renate Egan.
Hailed as the father of modern photovoltaics, UNSW Professor and Outgoing ACAP Director Martin Green added, “We’re looking at how to grow sustainably at scale as well as looking at new device structures where we are stacking cells to create tandems that can reach much higher efficiencies.”
Notably in May 2022, Swedish thin film solar technology company Midsummer installed its UNO machine at the UNSW for the latter to conduct solar cell research on thin film cells and develop a ‘new innovative type of tandem solar cell’.