The Australian Government’s Long-Term Emissions Reduction Plan and Low Emissions Technology Statement 2021 (LETS) identifies that reducing the cost of solar PV generation will be critical to unlocking the economic, employment and emissions abatement potential of other priority low emissions technologies. The LETS has identified a stretch goal of $15 per MWh for the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) for utility scale solar PV. Up to $40 million in funding is allocated to support the research and commercialisation of Ultra Low Cost Solar PV (ULCS) technologies.
Start date: 07 February 2022
Closing date: 11 April 2022
Overview and Grant Amount
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) seeking proposals for Research & Development (R&D) projects to accelerate cost reductions and help meet the Australian Government’s solar stretch goal. This is a competitive funding round under our Transformative Research Accelerating Commercialisation (TRAC) Program. It is open to applications for projects which have achieved a Technology Readiness Level of at least three at the time of applying.
The round has 2 streams. Applicants must select one as their focus:
- Cells and modules: $20m funding allocation
- Improvement in the efficiency of cells and modules is a key lever for reducing LCOE. Cells and modules also need to be cost competitive, offer longevity and consider sustainability issues when manufactured and deployed at scale.
- Balance of System costs and Operations and Maintenance: $20m funding allocation
- Innovative plant design configurations and the use of advanced automation in assembly and construction are potential pathways to lower utility scale solar PV construction costs.
The Funding Round is open to Projects that align with the Round Objectives. Proposals must comply with the following parameters:
- The amount of ARENA grant funding requested must be a minimum of $2 million and no greater than $8 million;
- Projects align with the scope of one of the Streams outlined in Section 3 and target significant cost reductions;
- Project timeframe of up to five years, which is split between core research (up to three years) and commercialisation activities (up to two years). A stage-gate mechanism will be implemented within the Funding Agreement to assess the viability of the proposed technology and commercialisation pathway prior to commencing stage 2 (Commercialisation);
- Development of technology that is assessed as having achieved a minimum Technology Readiness Level of 3 at the time of applying. Projects should aim to progress the relevant technology beyond its starting TRL;
- The Applicant must present a proposed commercialisation pathway for the technology, which is expected to be refined during the course of the Project; and
- Proposals must budget no more than 50 per cent of total ARENA funding sought towards commercialisation activities, to a limit of $2.5 million
Eligibility and Criteria
All of the Eligibility Criteria must be met for both EOIs and Full Applications, and continue to be met throughout the process. Applicants should review the Funding Announcement section on Eligibility for any additional requirements or exclusions.
- at the time of applying, hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and
- be either an Australian entity incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth); or an eligible Australian research institution (an Australian university); the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO); the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) including Data61; the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS); the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO); Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs); the National Measurement Institute (NMI); or Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence
- be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of ARENA that the Project described in the Proposal
- be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of ARENA that the majority of the Project activities will take place in Australia
- be able to provide evidence that they have the necessary rights to any IP required to undertake the Project
Interested parties are highly encouraged to carefully read through all the set criteria in the program guidelines for better understanding of all requirements needed. Applications must be lodged at the ARENA portal.
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