In a renewed show of support for solar power technology, the Gillard government has announced it is increasing its R&D collaborative efforts through a new memorandum of understanding with Germany. Talking up Australia's "second to none" solar potential, resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson said that more work needed to be done to achieve widespread, cost-effective deployment of solar power technology on a commercial scale, if solar was to significantly contribute to Australia’s baseload energy mix
In Germany for the announcement, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, signed the MoU between the Australian Solar Institute (ASI – part of the government’s $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative) and Germany's national research centre for aeronautics and space – the Deutches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR). “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 new agreement builds on the MOU that the ASI already has in place with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, which focuses on solar PV technologies. The key areas of collaboration focus on concentrated solar power (CSP) development and deployment – with a priority on high temperature CSP modelling and high temperature receiver performance and analysis; provision of peer review expertise, joint R&D projects between DLR and Australian research bodies supported by the ASI, and support for solar skills development and education in Australia and Germany.