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Funding boost for solar power research

A project focusing on development of plastic solar cells has received AU$3.4 million in state and federal funding.

Funding for the Organic Solar Cells Project, led by a team of scientists from Victoria, has been allocated from the government of Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries and the Australian Solar Institute at the University of Melbourne’s Bio21 Institute.

The team of scientists from the University of Melbourne, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Monash University have been producing flexible, plastic solar cells, printed with a light sensitive ink to convert sunlight into energy.

The government grant will allow the development of materials and devices for the printing process, enabling production of inexpensive, mass produced solar panels.

In order to achieve their aim of producing prototype solar cells printed on plastic and steel substrates within three years, the researchers have teamed up with industry partners including BlueScope Steel, Innovia Films and Robert Bosch South East Asia to expand the activities of the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC).

“The implementation of environmentally-friendly power, such as solar electricity, is becoming increasingly important for Australia as we strive to meet current and future carbon dioxide reduction targets. The grant, announced today, recognises the viability of this new technology and will help to make it commercially available,” said David Jones, VICOSC programme coordinator, in a statement on 27 July.