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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    The University of New South Wales


    Kensington, New South Wales

    ARENA Program

    Ultra Low Cost Solar PV Research and Development Round

  • Start date

    5 December 2022

    End date

    30 January 2027

  • Project Partners
    TNO Netherlands, Trina Solar, Suzhou Talesun Solar Technologies, Jolywood Fusion, Akcome, Osaka University Toyo Aluminium Semiconductor Joint Research Laboratory


This project will reduce silver consumption of mass-produced silicon solar cells through a novel-screen printing metallisation technique.


This project is funded under the ULCS PV Research and Development Round and will build on ARENA’s previous investment into solar PV that support projects aligning with ARENA’s ‘Solar 30 30 30’ target to improve module efficiency to 30 per cent and reduce total construction costs of utility scale solar farms to 30 cents per watt by 2030. Funding is being made available to focus on commercialisation prospects, which will take place after an initial R&D phase, to assist getting the new technologies into the market.

In 2021, the solar PV industry consumed approximately 13% of the annual global silver supply. Significant reductions in the consumption of silver are required to manage supply chain issues and reduce both module manufacturing costs and Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) as the PV industry continues to rapidly expand.


The project will develop and commercialise a novel approach for reducing silver consumption to 5 mg/W for industrial solar cells using existing flatbed screen-printing technology. This will be achieved in a manner compatible with existing commercial solder-based interconnection approaches including the multi-busbar technology, which will accelerate the commercialisation pathway. The project will also develop new silver-free or silver-lean pastes, silver-lean cells and modules, and determine the cost of commercially manufactured cells using pilot production data.


The outcome of the Project is expected to be mass production of fully screen-printed solar cells with 5 mg/W silver usage, and a reduction in silver by a factor of 3, 4.5 and 6 for industrial PERC, TOPCon and SHJ solar cells, respectively.

Last updated
05 January 2023
Last updated 05 January 2023


Solar research funding to drive costs lower

Australian solar energy research is already world-leading, but our ambition is to create Ultra Low Cost Solar to accelerate the transition to renewables.

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