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Argentina: Grant Scheme for Solar Development and Research Projects
The National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion (Agencia) has invited tenders for solar R&D projects which will be financed with the help of a new grant scheme. In order to be eligible for the funds, the project has to use one of the following three technologies: solar thermal, photovoltaics or Concentrating Solar Power. Applications can be submitted until 11 April 2011.
The applicant is required to provide at least 50% of the total project costs. Project duration is limited to four years. The grants may be used for: human resource consulting services and technical advice, training, travelling, materials and equipment, capital goods and installation/assembly, infrastructure, and expenses related to, for example, patenting.
The R&D fund is run by the Agencia on behalf of the Argentine Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. The grants per project vary between Argentine Peso (ARS) 2,310,000 and 30,800,000 (USD 0.57 to 7.6 million). Funds will be awarded to innovative projects aimed at solving technological hurdles, improving competitiveness and supporting the industry with goods and services related to solar energy generation.
The so-called “Fondo de Innovación Tecnológica Sectorial (FITS) Energía Solar” (Fund for Technological Innovation in the Field of Solar Energy - FITS) is administered by the Agencia's FONARSEC, the Fondo Argentino Sectorial (find more details about FITS-2010 Solar Energy in the attached document in Spanish). The new set of instruments was devised by the Ministry of Planning to support technological innovations in 4 strategic sectors of the country: agribusiness, energy, health and social services.
FITS for Solar Energy requires public-private partnerships consisting of at least one domestic firm and a public institution dedicated to research and development. The structure is thought to strengthen ties between public and private institutions, with the purpose of setting up pilot models adapted to local energy conditions.
This text was written in cooperation with Carlos Faria Café, Director of SE-Studio Equinócio – Marca Solar Group, based in Brazil (café@studioequinocio.com.br).