December 12 (Renewables Now) - The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will allocate up to AUD 15 million (USD 10.3m/EUR 9.3m) in funding for research and development (R&D) projects seeking to cut the cost and amount of waste from solar panels nearing the end of their lifespan.
The financing support will be provided on behalf of the Australian government, ARENA said on Wednesday. It explained the initiative aims to support projects that address end-of-life issues of photovoltaic (PV) panels, such as schemes seeking to lower recycling costs, increase the value of recovered materials or such proposing innovations for re-using reused or recycled components in new panels.
Putting the focus at end-of-life PV panel issues will help the large and small-scale solar industries to responsibly manage their waste, without driving up the overall cost of solar power production. “Currently, solar PV panel recycling adds a cost to the supply chain. R&D can help find innovative solutions to reduce this cost, enabling sustainable and cost effective management of solar panels at the end of their life,” pointed out Darren Miller, ARENA’s CEO.
In addition to supporting research related to end-of-life issues, the financing will back projects aiming to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of solar PV for new or established applications. This includes improving silicon-based panels and using tandem materials, as well as new materials.
This is ARENA’s fifth financing round for solar PV research. Since 2009, the government agency has distributed over AUD 290 million for solar R&D.
(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.688/EUR 0.6183)