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US and Australia join forces on solar power

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Julia Gillard, MP

07 November 2010 Prime Minister

US and Australia join forces on solar power

Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton today announced a major joint initiative to help more people benefit from affordable solar energy solutions.

The US-Australia Solar Research Collaboration initiative will support joint projects specifically designed to cut the cost of solar energy technologies.

It represents a major commitment from both countries to protect the environment by ensuring solar energy hardware becomes cheaper to buy.

The Australian Government is committing up to $50 million from the Renewable Energy Future Fund to support this initiative.

Solar power has significant potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide clean and renewable energy.

However, the cost of solar technologies still represents one of the greatest barriers to its wider commercial take-up.

The joint initiative will address this barrier - building on expertise and collaboration between Australian and US researchers.

The initiative will see new research on advanced solar technology projects such as dual junction photovoltaic devices, hot-carrier solar cells and high temperature receivers.

Funding will also be provided for exchange programs and research scholarships focused on achieving affordable solar energy solutions.

The Australian Solar Institute (ASI) - which is already driving research and development to make solar energy more efficient - will manage the Commonwealth's contribution.

Today's announcement builds on the joint commitment to further develop energy cooperation and innovation between the US and Australia.

Australia recently welcomed a US$500,000 grant from the US State Department to support the work of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute in developing countries.

In December last year, Australia pledged its support for the US-led Renewable and Efficiency Deployment Initiative (Climate REDI) to help bring renewable energy technologies to developing countries.

Joint efforts between Australia and the US will ensure that we lead the way in the development and supply of the most competitive clean energy, including solar technologies.

This will provide real and sustainable benefits for citizens of both countries whilst contributing to the global response to climate change.

The Australian Government is committed to tackling climate change - with $5.1 billion allocated to its Clean Energy Initiative.

Australia's renewable energy target is for at least 20 per cent of the nation's power to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020.

That target is expected to drive and estimated $19 billion in investment in renewable energy generation.