The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) recently announced up to $40 million in financing for research and development (R&D) to help the government meet its ultra-low-cost solar goal. The R&D funding round will build on ARENA’s prior R&D investment in solar PV, with a focus on projects that fit with the Solar 30 30 30 target of 30 per cent module efficiency and 30 cents per installed watt at utility scale by 2030.
ARENA is accepting applications in two streams that will considerably reduce the levelised cost of solar PV by 2030. In Stream 1, Solar Cells and Modules: Building on Australia’s strong R&D and innovation track record in solar cells and modules. In Stream 2, System balance, operations, and maintenance: Attempting to extend the approach in order to speed up innovation that can lower the upfront and continuing expenses of utility-scale solar PV. Each of the two streams is expected to receive up to $20 million in total funding from ARENA.
In December 2021, ARENA announced a $100 million financing round for grid-scale batteries with sophisticated inverters. Expressions of interest would be accepted starting in February 2022 and will close on March 31, 2022. Later in 2022, selected bidders will be invited to submit a comprehensive application.
REGlobal’s Views: Australia has a massive untapped solar potential that can be used for providing cost-effective power to consumers. Such funding initiatives will enable development of advanced technologies that can help further reduce the cost of solar power.