Government offering $100 million to scale up solar innovation

Thursday, 20 June, 2024

Government offering $100 million to scale up solar innovation

The federal government has announced it is investing up to $100 million in a global industry challenge aimed at lowering costs and unlocking a larger Australian solar industry, helping transform Australia into a renewable energy superpower.

Through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the government says it is supporting the Solar ScaleUp Challenge to stimulate innovation in how solar farms are deployed and operated.

ARENA is calling on innovators, customers, financiers and anyone involved in construction, operation or maintenance in the solar sector to get involved in the challenge, which will be open for eight weeks. The challenge will make use of an online innovation platform through which participants can submit proposed ideas and projects. If shortlisted, participants could gain access to a total pool of $100 million in grant funding from ARENA to explore their projects further.

The international challenge is part of ARENA’s vision to reduce the installed cost of a solar project to just 30 cents per watt and reduce the cost of electricity to below $20 per megawatt hour by 2030.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said ultra-low-cost solar was key to delivering cheaper, cleaner energy.

“The modern solar panel is in effect an Australian invention, developed at the University of New South Wales. This is Australian technology, and we want to see more of the breakthroughs in technology happen here,” he said. “The world added 445 GW of solar last year, more than all other power sources combined, because the world is rapidly moving to renewable energy, the cheapest form of energy.

“I encourage all organisations that support solar deployment to consider putting in a submission and being part of this $100 million challenge.”

ARENA is teaming up with the organisation Greenhouse to deliver the challenge. Greenhouse has run similar global challenges in the past, including the NearZero Steel Challenge.

Information about ARENA’s Solar ScaleUp Challenge including submission requirements and deadlines is available here.

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