Solar researchers score $7 million support

UNSW Engineering: reducing the cost of solar technologies

Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for IndustryIn August 2014, on the 40th anniversary of the beginning of photovoltaics research at UNSW, Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, announced five new grants at an ARENA-hosted event at UNSW.

The $7 million in grants cover research that will improve performance or reduce manufacturing costs for solar technologies. Three are for UNSW-led projects and two for Australian National University - led projects that involve UNSW.

"These latest grants build on four decades of innovation and leadership in the field," said Professor Darren Bagnall, Head of the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering.

Darren BagnallFaculty of Engineering Dean Graham Davies added: "It is great to see that the world-leading research in Photovoltaics at UNSW is being supported by the Government."

One of the UNSW-led projects aims to combine three innovative manufacturing approaches to improve production of next-generation commercial silicon solar cells. It builds on industry-leading solar cell architectures developed under earlier ARENA projects and involves a number of world-leading industry partners.

A second UNSW-led project is focused on high-efficiency silicon and perovskite tandem cells and modules. Perovskite is an emerging material that can be paired with silicon to produce solar panels that could be cheaper and more efficient than conventional silicon-only panels. Scientia Professor Martin Green will lead the multi-disciplinary team of Australian and international universities and industry partners working on the tandem cells.

A third UNSW-led project aims to use a new measurement system and advanced simulation tools to investigate processes that impact the performance of solar cells. Work on this project has also commenced.

All projects are expected to finish between 2018 and 2020, and include additional funding from UNSW and industry.

The Australian Government established ARENA as an independent agency on 1 July 2012 to make renewable energy technologies more affordable and increase the amount of renewable energy used in Australia. 

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