Solar PV Research & Development

Up to $5M is available from Solar PV Research & Development  to drive innovation to make solar PV more affordable, more efficient and more competitive.

Solar PV Research & Development

Solar PV Research & Development

The Solar PV (Photovoltaics) Research & Development Round 3 are to reduce the future cost of solar PV deployment through R&D on:

  • established and emerging solar cell technologies, including lower-cost materials, and/or improved efficiency and/or stability and/or reliability and/or scalability;
  • established and emerging solar module technologies, including lower-cost materials, and/or improved efficiency and/or reliability and/or durability



Under the 2017 ARENA Investment Plan, the Accelerating Solar PV Innovation investment priority aims to reduce the future cost of solar PV deployment. Several decades of Australian solar PV research and development (R&D) has already cascaded through global manufacturing supply chains, contributing to the dramatic decline in the cost of deployed solar PV that we can observe today. Further cost reductions will enable solar PV to meet a greater proportion of Australia’s energy needs, reducing the cost of reaching national emissions reduction targets. Cost reductions in solar PV will also allow cheaper construction of ‘excess’ PV capacity that can be integrated with storage, supporting a more secure and reliable grid.

Solar PV cells and modules constitute a significant proportion of the total cost of deployed solar PV. Cost reductions at the cell and module level produce knock-on cost savings through the rest of the solar PV value chain.



The total funding allocated for Round 3 is approximately $20 million. This amount may be reduced or increased at the discretion of the ARENA Board.

It is expected that ARENA Grants awarded to Projects under Round 3 will be between $500,000 and $5 million, with at least matched funding from the Applicant or a third party on a 1:1 basis.


Eligible Projects

ARENA will assess eligible projects against each of the five merit criteria. Projects must satisfy all merit criteria to a high standard to be considered for funding. ARENA will engage an expert panel to undertake this process. Each merit criteria will be weighted equally. The merit criteria are:

  • The capability and capacity of the applicant, project partners and key project personnel to deliver the proposed project.
  • The extent to which the project will contribute to the program’s objectives and round priorities.
  • The strength of the project design and methodology.
  • The financial viability of the project, including the level of co-investment and evidence of commitment, both cash and in-kind, to the project.
  • The value of the knowledge and information generated and the extent to which it will be collected, analysed, stored, used and shared.

This round covers activities involving solar PV technologies which:

  • are between Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 2-4 (inclusive) at the time of application;
  • meet the priorities of the round; and
  • meet the definition of an R&D project

This includes ​specialised scientific and technical information services, post-graduate research, and the design, construction and testing of prototypes.


Eligible Applicants

To be eligible for funding, your organisation must hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be either an eligible Australian research institution or an Australian entity incorporated under the Corporation Act 2001 (Cth). The following Australian research institutions are eligible to apply:

  • an Australian university (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.


Information Sessions

ARENA will hold a roadshow of information sessions to provide potential applicants with information about Round 3: Solar PV Research. Please RSVP to one of the following sessions.

Date: Monday 5 June 2017
Time: 11:30am – 12:30pm
Location: Hub Australia Cafe, Level 6, 696 Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC, 3000

Tuesday 6 June 2017
Time: 10.30am – 12.00pm
Location: ARENA Office, Level 0, Nishi NewActon, 2 Phillip Law St, Acton, Canberra, 2601

Thursday 8 June 2017
Time: 1:30pm – 3:00pm
Location: UTS City Campus, Building 4 (Science Building), room CB04.03.321, 15 Broadway, Ultimo, NSW, 2007



Applications close 21 June 2017.


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