PM and US President announce new solar projects

Prime Minister Gillard and President Obama. Source: AP.

So what was discussed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US President Barack Obama during the President’s visit last month? CSIRO solar research of course.

On 16 November, the successful United States-Australia Solar Energy Collaboration (USASEC) projects were announced in a joint statement by The White House and the Australian Government. The funding is dedicated to accelerating the widespread rollout of solar energy technologies in both countries and totals $32 million for seven projects.

The Australian Government’s Australian Solar Institute manages the funding as part of their overall remit to keep Australia at the forefront of solar innovation.

Congratulations to the Research Exchange awardees and the team members that led the successful bids for the CSIRO projects.

CSIRO Research exchange awardee

Jacek Jasieniak, Research Scientist, Materials Science and Engineering, will work with 2000 Nobel Prize winner, Professor Alan Heeger, at the University of California Santa Barbara for 12 months. They will work on a project to overcome barriers to increasing the efficiency of organic solar cells and therefore increase the cost-competitiveness of solar energy.


Wes Stein, Energy Transformed Flagship: Solar driven supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton Cycle

This project aims to reduce the levelised cost of electricity by bringing together various advanced technology developments including high efficiency receivers, thermal storage and a carbon dioxide Brayton cycle. Partners include Sandia National Laboratories, National Renewal Energy Laboratory (NREL), University of Sydney, Queensland University of Technology, and Barber Nicholls Inc. ($2.5 million funding for a $6.24 million project)

Chris Fell, Energy Transformed Flagship: Improving translation models for predicting the energy yield of photovoltaic power systems

This study will look at the way different solar cell technologies respond to changing solar conditions. A better understanding of the response to changing irradiance, spectrum, diffuse light and temperature will greatly improve yield predictions and improve confidence for investors in large-scale solar in Australia. Partners include NREL, CAT Projects (Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre), and Lend Lease. ($1.32 million funding for a $2.69 million project)

Alberto Troccoli, Marine and Atmospheric Research: Integrated Solar Radiation Data Sources over Australia

This project aims to develop Australia’s first comprehensive solar radiation data set, via a combination of ground station observations, satellite-derived data and atmospheric model output, that can be used to estimate solar power production. Partners include NREL and the Bureau of Meteorology. ($713 000 funding for a $1.43 million project)

For further information, read the Statement on clean energy cooperation [PDF 78KB].

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