The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will offer AUD40m (USD28.7m) in research and development (R&D) funding to encourage the development of ultra-low-cost solar, as reported by PV Tech on January 10. The funding will be split into two streams, the first of which supports R&D and innovation in solar cells and modules, and the second aims to accelerate innovation that drives down the costs of utility-scale solar. The renewable energy agency seeks to reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for solar PV to AUD15 (USD10.8) per MWh by 2030 as part of the country’s decarbonization strategy. As part of ARENA’s “Solar 30 30 30” ambition, the agency wants to improve solar cell efficiency to 30% and lower the overall construction cost of utility-scale solar farms to AUD0.30c (USD0.30c) per watt by 2030 through investment in R&D efforts.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a strategy in October 2021 to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. The strategy prioritizes investments to decarbonize the energy and industrial sectors, such as hydrogen energy development, steel and aluminum industry low-carbon transitions, and ultra-low-cost solar technologies development. The Australian government plans to spend a total of AUD20bn (USD14.4bn) to reduce carbon emissions by up to 35% by 2030 and achieve its 2050 carbon neutrality goal. ARENA also announced an AUD15.14m (USD10.9m) investment in November 2020 to fund 16 solar cell research projects aimed at improving panel efficiency, lowering prices, and addressing recycling challenges.