- UNSW, ANU and USYD have secured $41.5 million ARENA funding for 13 solar energy research projects
- The funding will enable these projects to complete their R&D and get ready for commercialization towards meeting the national 30 30 30 goal
- Winning projects have been selected under the 2 streams of cells and modules, and for BOM, operations and maintenance
A total of 13 research projects from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australian National University (ANU) and University of Sydney (USYD) have secured $41.5 million funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to help commercialize projects that can meet the country’s goal of 30% module efficiency for $0.30/W cost at utility scale by 2030.
Dubbed 30 30 30 goal, ARENA says the goal of ultra-low cost solar will be key to scaling up the production of low-cost renewable hydrogen and decarbonizing heavy industry including low emission materials as green steel and aluminum.
Funding has been announced under 2 streams of cells and modules with $27.5 million, and for balance of system (BOM), operations and maintenance with $14 million. It had to increase the funding amount by $1.5 million due to the strength of applications that it sees as having potential to reduce the levelized cost of solar PV and improve cell and module efficiency across the 2 streams (see Australia’s AUD 40 Million Solar Funding Opportunity).
For instance, USYD has secured $2.78 million to work with its industry partner Sundrive to commercialize Si perovskite tandem in Australia aiming for a silicon-perovskite tandem cell with an efficiency of at least 30% and a similar module with a minimum of 28% efficiency.
One of the winners of this funding round, UNSW with its project partners is working on reducing silver consumption of mass-produced silicon solar cells through a novel screen-printing metallization technique to bring down its use to 5 mg/W. It will reduce the use of silver by a factor of 3.0 for industrial PERC, 4.5 for TOPCon and 6.0 for SHJ solar cells.
There are some interesting research projects in the list under stream 2 winners. The team of ANU researchers and their project partners are working on developing a method to reduce the BOS costs of solar PV energy as applied to industrial heating at over 150°C, which is responsible for approximately 11.3% of Australian emissions.
A list of all the winning research projects can be viewed on ARENA’s website.
In June 2022, ARENA committed up to $45 million funding for the Australian Centre for Photovoltaics (ACAP) to help achieve the 30 30 30 goal. It counts as having supported ACAP’s work with $128.99 million in funding over 18 years up until 2030 (see ARENA’s $45 Million For $0.30/W Solar Cost).