Government announces $83 million for US-Australia solar collaboration

19 December

veski innovation fellow, Professor Andrew Holmes and his colleagues at the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC) are among a group of Australian researchers receiving $83 million in solar research funding from the Australian Solar Institute (ASI) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Announced by the Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, in December 2012, the funding is part of the United States-Australia Solar Energy Collaboration (USASEC), and will provide a significant boost for solar research and development.

Minister Ferguson said the continued success of Australian solar innovation is being reinforced through a long-term commitment between the governments of the United States and Australia.

"Today's funding commitment supports the collaborative efforts being made by our governments to drive innovation, build research and technical capacity, and provide pathways to solar commercialisation," Minister Ferguson said.

"The Australian Government's commitment is leveraging $140 million of research and industry investment, resulting in more than $220 million for solar research and involving over 40 organisations across Australia and the US.

"As the Government's Energy White Paper and ARENA's General Funding Strategy emphasised, realising the potential of new technologies will require collaborative approaches with overseas researchers to maximise Australia's strengths and capabilities."

The funding commitment includes $33 million for the US-Australia Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics and $35 million to the Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative. Professor Holmes and his colleagues have been awarded $4 million over three years as part of the US-Australia Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics project to be led by the University of New South Wales. The Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative will be led by CSIRO.

An additional $15.5 million is being allocated to collaborative research projects under the Open Funding Round of the USASEC. Projects range from developing an Australian Solar Energy Forecasting System that will improve the integration of solar energy generation, to a solar device that simplifies the incorporation of solar energy into hybrid fossil fuel applications.

USASEC was established in 2010 to support collaborative solar research between the United States and Australia and is an important part of the Australian Government's $17 billion commitment to the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. The US is providing in-kind support for these projects and programs through access to researchers and facilities that complement Australian expertise.

Further information about the Australian Solar Institute and the projects funded is at www.australiansolarinstitute.com.au and further information about ARENA at www.arena.gov.au

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