The Australian Government has announced an $83 million project in partnership with the US department of energy. The aim is to create new technology that will reduce the cost of solar power, and marks Australia’s biggest investment in to solar research to date.

Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources and Energy announced the $83 million project which will come out of the additional $2.2 billion renewable energy agency. The money will be used to fund two research projects; $33 million will go to the US-Australia Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics to develop better solar PV panels with higher performance at lower costs, and $35 million aimed at solar thermal research, with hopes of making Australia a leader in the technology. The initiative aims to lower the cost of solar thermal power from 25c to 10c per kilowatt hour. An additional $15.5 million will be available for collaborative research projects.

The collaborative approach to research with the US will develop the technology faster than either country working alone. More than $95 million has been invested through USASEC to date, drawing together 40 leading research institutes and industries in Australia and the US.