The inventor of a range of light-weight solar panels believes Australia will achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century despite the federal government not yet signing up to a formal target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Dr Zhengrong Shi, who founded the Sunman company which produces light, flexible solar panels, said renewable energy technologies were ready to replace conventional energy sources and the technology was moving faster than government policy.
Dr Shi said as solar technology improved, panels would become "like Wi-Fi", installed in all new domestic and commercial buildings as a standard fitting.
The federal government, which has stressed its preference for technology to reduce emissions, this week announced it had invested $9.6 million in Dr Shi's company through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the investment in the Sunman technology would help more Australians install rooftop solar.
"Australian households and businesses are increasingly choosing rooftop solar to power their homes," MrTaylor said on Wednesday.
"Already, one in four Australian homes have solar that is helping to reduce their energy bills. Being lightweight and able to be moulded to a variety of architecturally desirable shapes will allow these innovative panels to be installed in locations where heavy glass solar panels cannot, meaning more households and businesses can utilise solar power."
Dr Shi said the federal government's investment would allow an expanded program of research and development.
"We need to accelerate this development and secondary activities will move to expand or strengthen our marketing activities, to really broadcast to consumers the new technology we've developed and its potential applications in varied areas," Dr Shi told the Sunday Canberra Times.
Sunman eArc panels were installed on the roof of the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney last year, which was otherwise unable to support the weight of traditional panels. The technology also powers the Byron Bay solar train, mounted to the curved roof shape of the carriages.
"We use our tag as unlimited imagination, because we can make a panel into any size, any shape we like. The panels' shape are not limited by the bulky glass," Dr Shi said.
"As a matter of fact, in the last month or two there's a great shortage of glass supply in the industry. The glass price already went up by 40 per cent, so we just [say] to industry, 'Why do you have to use glass? Get rid of glass'."
Dr Shi said forecasts for energy production had consistently lagged behind the reality in renewable energy technology, and government energy policy would play catch up as renewable energy sources expanded and improved.
"I think reality moves faster than the forecasts, I'm very, very sure about it," he said.
This week, Mr Taylor continued to resist growing international pressure to commit Australia to a net-zero emissions target by 2050, saying the government would not commit to the target without a clear path to achieve it.
"We're committed to the Paris Agreement, and the Paris Agreement requires net zero. And we're part of that commitment, there's no question about that. Now, we want to see that happen as soon as possible. We want to focus on technology not taxes as a pathway to get there," he told ABC radio on Thursday.