The Australian Government announced last week that CSIRO would be leading a new solar research initiative worth over $87 million AUD, an initiative which aims to lower the cost of solar thermal power from 25 cents a kilowatt hour down to 10 cents/kWh.
CSIRO is set to partner with six Australian universities as well as the United States Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia National Laboratories, and Arizona State University.
Their goal is simple: create solar technology capable of delivering cheap, zero emission solar energy for the benefit of Australia, and the world.
The initiative was made possible thanks to a $35 million contribution from the Australian Solar Institute and Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which are hoping to keep Australia at the leading edge of global solar research.
CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship Director, Dr Alex Wonhas, said the funding provides CSIRO with the opportunity to work with the world’s best and fully develop solar thermal technology.
“A world-class collaboration of this scale ensures we are well on our way to lower the cost of solar thermal technology. Demonstrating the technology is vital, it is what attracts investment and development in the industry.”
Given the ever-increasing Australian population and the recent hikes in energy costs, the Australian people are looking for any cheaper alternatives that make themselves available. Solar is often presented as one of these cheaper alternatives, and with this latest research initiative, one can only hope that solar prices will continue to fall just as traditional energy prices continue to soar.
CSIRO’s Australian university partners for the solar thermal research initiative include The Australian National University, University of Queensland, The University of Adelaide, The University of South Australia, Queensland University of Technology, and Flinders University.