Monash University researchers have assisted in attracting $5 million from the Victoria’s Science Agenda (VSA) Strategic Projects Fund to develop technologies for printable solar cells.

The researchers are key partners in the Victorian Consortium for Organic Solar Cells (VICOSC) which also includes researchers from CSIRO, Melbourne University and industry partners BlueScope, Securency, Innovia Films and Bosch to secure the major grant.

Dr Udo Bach and Professor Yi-Bing Cheng from the Faculty of Engineering and Professor Leone Spiccia from the Faculty of Science have welcomed the funding to support the three year project to continue development of efficient technologies to mass-produce thin and flexible solar cells on a variety of different substrates.

Dr Bach said the funding would assist in developing the technology to a point where it can compete with more traditional solar cell technologies.

“These printable cells are an improvement on current technologies available because they are lightweight, easily transportable and partially transparent meaning that they can be installed almost anywhere including roofs and windows,” Dr Bach said.

Professor Cheng said the support for VICOSC allows it to compete on the world stage.

“Competition in this field is very fierce and such strong financial support from the Victorian Government assists the Consortium in maintaining our key researchers and research excellence so that we can compete with larger international groups,” Professor Cheng said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that in Victoria, 7.4 per cent of households with a household income of $110,000 or more per year had solar energy compared to 1.8 per cent of households with lower incomes.

Professor Spiccia is confident the advancement in printable solar cell technology may increase its accessibility to Australian households and businesses.

“The Consortium will strive to make solar energy technology an affordable option for people in Australia and around the world, which in turn may have a far-reaching and positive impact on the environment,” Professor Spiccia said.

Source: Monash University.