$45 million funding to boost solar technology research and development

With solar a big part of our energy future, researchers driving Australia’s international lead in solar technology welcome funding.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller, Member for Kingsford Matt Thistlethwaite, UNSW Professor Renate Egan and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen at the Solar Industrial Research Facility, UNSW Sydney. Photo: UNSW

Cutting-edge solar photovoltaic (PV) research at the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) headquartered at UNSW Sydney will receive further funding from the Australian Government, with Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen today announcing a $45 million boost that will extend operations until 2030. 

Mr Bowen paid homage to Professor Martin Green – often described as the ‘father of modern photovoltaics’. “The solar industry in Australia has many fathers, mothers and champions but none more so than Professor Martin Green. In my view, he is a national treasure.”

“As a country, we need to meet our emission targets, but we can also help the rest of the world. That will be because of the innovation, the science, the cutting-edge technology that happens right here and at other universities, but no place more than here at UNSW,” said Mr Bowen. 

ACAP is a federally funded initiative by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and is led by UNSW’s School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE). The centre includes research groups from CSIRO, Australian National University, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, and Monash University. 

ACAP is a critical foundation of Australia’s world-leading research and development capability in solar PV, with benefits for emissions reductions in Australia and globally. 

UNSW Sydney Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Attila Brungs and Member for Kingsford Smith, Mr Matt Thistlethwaite joined Mr Bowen at the event which was held at the ACAP centre located at the UNSW Kingsford campus. 

Incoming ACAP Director, Professor Renate Egan said, “We’re looking forward to working with ARENA to deliver low-cost solar technologies through ongoing research.  Australia has been leading the world in solar technology development, and there’s still so much more to do. And we’re only just beginning.”  

Prof. Egan said the funding from ARENA will support around 20 research fellows and over 65 new students each year, which will keep Australia at the forefront of innovation in solar PV. “Importantly, these students become the skilled engineers that the industry needs to deliver the transition to a low carbon future.”