Australia to back solar energy researchers with $1.3m in grants – reports

16 Jul 2012

The Australian government is reportedly planning to inject almost AUS$1.3m into helping solar energy researchers progress technologies around clean-energy solutions.

Bloomberg has today reported that Australia’s resources minister Martin Ferguson announced the new solar energy research drive as part of the government’s Skills Development Program.

“From techniques to improve the efficiency of solar cells made from low-cost and readily available organic materials, to investigating ways to optimise hybrid solar-diesel systems in remote areas using smart grids, the Skills Development Program is helping to drive Australian solar innovation,” Ferguson said in a statement today.

As part of the country’s drive to reduce the country’s carbon pollution emissions, the Australian government is investing more than $5bn in developing and commercialising clean-energy technologies.

Just last week, it announced a AUS$200m Clean Technology Innovation Program to provide grants for Australian businesses that come up with innovative ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In terms of its clean-energy plan launched on 10 June, the Australian government is to invest more than $17bn in renewable energy. It’s also setting up the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

As for the country’s solar focus, a report released in June titled Realising the Potential of Concentrating Solar Power in Australia claimed that concentrating solar power (CSP) could provide about 30pc of Australia’s total current electricity generation capacity.

The report, which was commissioned by the Australian Solar Institute, also claimed CSP integration would only require “modest” extensions to Australia’s national electricity grid.

Solar photovoltaics image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic