Australian Solar Energy Institute Launched

Martin Ferguson AM MP, Minister for Resources and Energy, launched the Australian Solar Institute on Friday.

The Solar Institute, based in Newcastle New South Wales, is a $100 million project that will go some way to fulfilling the Government’s election promise of fast tracking solar energy initiatives in Australia.

The Institute will allow for greater collaboration between Australian and international researchers in the solar energy sector in addition to providing financial support for research and development of solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies throughout Australia.

The Australian Government is providing an initial $15 million to establish three foundation projects.

$5 million will be invested to support the development of a crystalline silicon pilot production line at the University of New South Wales. A further $5 million will go to establishing a high tech solar thermal tower at the CSIRO in Newcastle and $5 million will be provided to assist in the creation of a solar research facility at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Australia has a solid history in the area of solar energy innovation, but much of the development went offshore during the Howard years when local researchers and entrepreneurs were unable to gain the funding and support needed. Minister Ferguson believes that Australian Solar Institute will again put Australia at the forefront of this critically important renewable energy technology.

The Australian Solar Institute will build on other recent Government initiatives designed to tackle global warming and encouraging the local renewable energy industry, including the highly controversial Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, the upcoming switch to the Solar Credits program to replace the current solar energy rebates scheme for home owners and the Renewable Energy Target.