ARENA passes $2 billion funding milestone

Just months after celebrating the 10th anniversary of its foundation, ARENA has passed another major milestone.

“ARENA’s funding spans the entire renewable energy innovation chain”

ARENA CEO Darren Miller

Two billion dollars. That’s how much funding ARENA has successfully signed off on since its establishment on July 1, 2012.

On December 5, 2022, 10 projects started with ARENA committing a total of just over $48 million. That took the sum of all ARENA funding to $2.04 billion.

While it’s not possible to say precisely which project received the two-billionth dollar, nine of the 10 were part of ARENA’s recent research and development funding round to accelerate ultra low cost solar.

Solar’s starring role

The likelihood of a solar project receiving this milestone funding is fitting.

On its very first day of existence, ARENA provided funding for a CSIRO backed project, “Hybrid Concentrating Solar Thermal Systems”. Since then, ARENA has provided a total of more than $1 billion to solar PV and solar thermal projects.

In the latest round of solar funding in January 2023, ARENA committed another $41.5 million across 13 research projects. They were chosen from a string of high-quality applicants to a funding round opened in February 2022.

That funding round is helping projects that align with ARENA’s “Solar 30 30 30” targets of boosting solar module efficiency to 30 per cent, cutting the cost of installing solar at utility scale to 30 cents per watt, within a 2030 deadline..

ARENA’s crucial funding

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said ARENA would be looking not just to help boost solar innovation but also other technologies crucial to achieving net zero.

“It is a major milestone for ARENA to surpass $2 billion in funding across such a diverse portfolio of projects and technologies.”

“ARENA’s funding spans the entire renewable energy innovation chain,” Mr Miller said.

“From early-stage research to large scale deployment, our programs and funding are supporting projects from universities and start-ups to some of Australia’s biggest companies to tackle the toughest challenges in the energy transition.

“Just in the last 12 months, we’re proud to be supporting other funding rounds. Our recent large scale battery round is supporting 2.7 gigawatts of grid forming large scale battery storage. Other rounds fund hydrogen, low emission metals, flexible demand and decarbonising transport to name but a few.

“We’re not resting on our laurels though. As we look ahead to 2030 and beyond, we recognise there is much more to do to reach our climate targets and get to net zero.

“Our Advancing Renewables Program is continuously open for applications that address our strategic priorities outlined in our Investment Plan. And we have several, more specific funding rounds open for applicants right now.”

Two rounds currently open are Regional Microgrids and Industrial Energy Transformation Studies Program.

Coming up shortly, ARENA will also be launching a funding round to support community batteries.

In this way, ARENA aims to accelerate the affordability of new technologies and build investor confidence in renewable energy projects now and into the future.