Seeking solar innovators for $100 million challenge

Wednesday, 26 June, 2024

Seeking solar innovators for $100 million challenge

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched its global $100 million ‘Solar ScaleUp Challenge’, and invites innovators, developers, engineers, financiers and solar customers around the world to accelerate innovation in large-scale solar and help drive down costs.

The aim of the Challenge is to stimulate greater innovation and collaboration in the solar sector — particularly in installation, operations and maintenance — enabling ARENA to realise its ultra-low-cost solar (ULCS) vision.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the large-scale deployment of solar is key to the clean energy transition and in achieving global decarbonisation.

“Ultra-low-cost solar is critical for reducing electricity costs and decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors such as industry and transport. It is also a key factor in Australia becoming a renewable energy superpower, a vision which would see Australia playing a major role in supplying our key trading partners with low emissions products such as green iron and hydrogen.

“Collaboration in solar is key to reducing costs and maintaining Australia’s leading role in the development and innovation of solar technologies. We are aiming to bring together leaders across Australia and the world to tackle the challenges presented in our quest for even cheaper renewable energy through this critical technology,” Miller said.

ARENA is looking to reduce the installed cost of a solar project to just 30 cents per watt and reach a levelised cost of electricity below $20 per megawatt hour by 2030. This could help unlock a total installed capacity of 1 terawatt by 2050. The company is also administering the $1 billion Solar Sunshot Program, aimed at growing Australia’s domestic solar PV manufacturing capabilities in Australia and commercialising local solar PV innovation. Where Sunshot is primarily focused on how components are made, the Challenge is focused on how they’re deployed.

The Solar ScaleUp Challenge is open for eight weeks and is expected to complement the Solar Sunshot program by building a pipeline of solar PV innovation that can be adopted by manufacturers along the supply chain and project developers.

For information about the Challenge, including who can enter, how to participate and submission deadlines, visit the Solar ScaleUp Challenge website.

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