Australia teams with Germany for ground-breaking solar power research

The government has announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Germany to jointly-develop solar power products.

The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, said that Australia’s solar energy resources are second to none, with the highest average solar radiation per square metre of any continent in the world.

Though Germany has a very different climate to sunny Australia, the country is, like us, looking for alternative ways to produce power.

Solar power, though expensive to develop, is a cheaper power source than electricity, and would help manufacturers shave millions off their bottom electricity bills. This is especially prudent since Julia Gillard announced she plans to instate a carbon tax next year, which would negatively affect industry.

"Solar power has the potential to significantly contribute to Australia’s baseload energy mix," Minister Ferguson said.

"But more work needs to be done to achieve widespread, cost-effective deployment of this technology on a commercial scale.

"Like Australia, Germany is seeking to move to lower its emissions and transition to cleaner energy sources, and it makes sense to pool our resources and by doing so accelerate the pace of technology development and reduce costs.

"The Australian Government is investing heavily in achieving these goals through our $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative and working with partners like Germany and the United States is a way of further capitalising on this investment."

Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr visited Germany to sign the MoU between the Australian Solar Institute (ASI) and the Deutches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) – Germany’s national research centre for aeronautics and space.

Senator Carr said R&D is crucial to deliver results.

"The Australian Government is a strong supporter of solar energy research and development, with $150 million committed to support the Australian Solar Institute," Senator Carr said. 

"This latest initiative will bring together Australia’s best solar energy researchers with those in Germany, to accelerate the technology breakthroughs required to allow solar energy to become a sustainable energy source in the future in Australia, Germany and around the world."

The agreement builds on the MoU that the ASI already has in place with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, which focuses on solar photovoltaic technologies. 

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