S$14 million awarded to advance solar energy research

Channel NewsAsia 25 Jul 14;

SINGAPORE: A total of S$14 million in grants was awarded to five research teams by the Energy Innovation Programme Office (EIPO), said the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Friday (July 25).

The monies was awarded under the third grant call of the Energy Innovation Research Programme (EIRP), and the focus of this round was on the cost reduction via innovations in materials and manufacturing processes for solar wafers, cells and modules.

The five research proposals that received funding in this latest round belonged to: National University of Singapore's Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore, Singapore University of Technology and Design, the Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N), and REC Solar, the EDB said in its statement.

Mr Yeoh Keat Chuan, Managing Director of the EDB and co-Executive Director of EIPO, said: "We believe that these give projects will lead to further cost reductions in the solar manufacturing value chain and critically strengthen the competitiveness of solar energy in relation to conventional energy sources."

EIPO announced in 2011 the allocation of S$195 million in research and development (R&D) budget under the national Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2015 cycle, which ends on March 31, 2016.

Of this, S$140 million was assigned to the EIRP. Since 2012, six EIRP calls focusing on solar energy, clean energy systems, smart grid technologies, power generation and energy efficient buildings had been launched by various Government agencies.

- CNA/kk

$14m in grants given out to improve making of solar cells
Aw Cheng Wei The Straits Times AsiaOne 28 Jul 14;

Five research teams have received a total of $14 million in grants to devise more efficient ways of making materials to turn sunlight into electricity.
To do so, one team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) is looking for cheaper alternatives to silver, which is needed to produce solar cells, by trying ways to get other materials to behave like the precious metal.

Another team, also from NUS, is working on thinning the silicon used in creating solar cells so as to reduce production costs.

Managing director of the Economic Development Board (EDB), Mr Yeoh Keat Chuan, said: "The projects have garnered strong interest from the private sector for research collaborations."

They will also help position Singapore as a "leading hub for clean energy research" and encourage the Republic to speed up its use of solar cells, he added.

The grants aim to support research and development in the clean energy sector and were given out by the Energy Innovation Programme Office (EIPO), an inter-agency office responsible for strategies and policies for growing the energy sector.

The EIPO is led by EDB and the Energy Market Authority of Singapore.

The current set of grants are the third issued under the Energy Innovation Research Programme (EIRP) and given to scientists who are improving the manufacturing processes for solar wafers, cells and modules.

The grants also go towards innovations in materials used in the manufacturing process, such as coatings, adhesives and packaging materials, to bring down the costs of solar cells.

In June last year, the first set of grants were awarded to five research teams focused on increasing efficiency and innovation in photovoltaic technology, which enables the conversion of sunlight into electricity.

Besides the NUS teams, teams from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore University of Technology and Design and renewable energy company REC Solar Pte Ltd also received the research grants this year.