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  • The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announces up to $40 million to support research and development (R&D) into solar energy and related initiatives
  • The fund is intended to support the Australian Governments ultra low cost solar stretch goal and will be open to applications across two streams
  • Ultra low cost solar was recently added as a priority in the Government’s latest Low Emissions Technology Statement (LETS) setting a stretch goal of $15 megawatts per hour
  • ARENA says ultra low cost solar will be a key in scaling up production of low cost green hydrogen and unlocking other decarbonisation pathways for heavy industry
  • ARENA has also set the ‘Solar 30 30 30’ target, aiming to improve solar cell efficiency to 30 per cent and reduce costs of utility scale solar farms to 30 cents per watt, all by 2030

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has announced up to $40 million to support research and development (R&D) into solar energy and related initiatives.

ARENA was established by the Australian Government in 2012 and aims to support the global transition to net zero emissions with a focus on pre-commercial innovation.

The $40 million funding is intended to support the Government’s ultra low cost solar stretch goal.

ARENA is will be accepting applications for the scheme across two streams, for projects that can materially reduce the levelised cost of solar-related technology by 2030.

Stream 1 is for R&D into solar cells and modules while Stream 2 deals with the balance of system, operations and maintenance.

ARENA currently expects to allocate up to $20 million in total funding to each of the two streams.

ARENA said ultra-low-cost solar was recently added as a priority technology in the Government’s latest Low Emissions Technology Statement (LETS).

In this statement, the Government has set a stretch goal of $15 per megawatt-hour, roughly a third of today’s cost.

ARENA believes ultra low cost solar will be a key in scaling up the production of low-cost green hydrogen. Additionally ultra-low-cost solar may unlock other decarbonisation pathways for heavy industry including low emissions materials such as green steel and aluminium.

ARENA has also set the ‘Solar 30 30 30’ target, aiming to improve solar cell efficiency to 30 per cent and reduce costs of utility-scale solar farms to 30 cents per watt, all by 2030.

Expressions of interest for the ultra-low-cost solar R&D funding round will open in February 2022.

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