Tindo Solar backs Australia’s plan to kickstart PV supply chain

The sole producer of solar panels in Australia, Tindo Solar, has embraced the federal government’s recently unveiled Solar Sunshot program, believing that it will help launch a homegrown renewable energy sector and support its own goal of tripling its production capacity.

“This program has the potential to be catalyst for a domestic renewables manufacturing industry, which will create thousands of jobs and ensure Australia enjoys more of the economic and societal benefits of the energy transition,” said Tindo Chief Executive Officer Richard Petterson.

“This is also a major step toward Australia regaining its position as a leader in solar, utilizing our skills, knowledge and manufacturing capabilities to make the hardware that will produce emissions free electricity for homes and businesses across the country.”

Australia has the greatest rooftop solar adoption rate in the world, with one in three homes having solar panels installed; yet, just one percent of these solar panels are now made in the country.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will administer the Solar Sunshot program, which will provide AUD $1 million in grants and production subsidies to encourage domestic PV manufacturing throughout the whole solar supply chain, including expanding module manufacturing capacity.

Australian Energy Minister Chris Bowen said a significant portion of the AUD 1 billion commitment would be used on the transformation of the former Liddell coal-fired power station site in New South Wales Hunter into a renewable energy hub, with the rest of the funding available to other projects with Tindo’s plans to build a giga-scale factory on Australia’s east coast earning special mention.

“Tindo held the flame alive during the last decade or so of Australian manufacturing and they’ll also, I know, be very keen to participate in Solar Sunshot,” Bowen said, adding that the government will be progressing the program “very quickly and we are very keen to see that support flow this year.”

The current Tindo production plant, located near Adelaide’s Mawson Lakes, can produce 360,000 panels a year, or 150 MW.

The business declared in January that it would construct a factory in one of the eastern states of the nation for AUD 100 million.

It is projected that the new plant will have the capacity to produce approximately 2 million panels annually, or 1 GW. According to Tindo, the new factory should be up and running by the end of 2025.

According to Petterson, the new facility will be in a prime location to contribute significantly to the growth of a more extensive supply chain and a competitive local solar manufacturing sector.

“Tindo has been manufacturing high-performing Australian-made panels since 2011 and we want to be at the heart of Australia’s solar supply chain, sourcing from local suppliers and selling our panels to homes, businesses and utility-scale project developers across the country,” he said.

“Our solar panel gigafactory can be the first step, offering the scale and volume that provides the demand pull through to attract local investment further back up the chain.”

Petterson said the proposed gigafactory will create 250 jobs and deliver AUD 300 million in economic benefits, which would represent “an excellent return for the taxpayer from any Commonwealth support … We congratulate the government on stepping up.

Now it’s time for industry to respond by building out local manufacturing capacity and using Australian-made products on the gigawatts of projects being rolled out across the country.”

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water (DCCEEW) will now collaborate with ARENA Chief Executive Darren Miller to develop and implement the SunShot program.

“We’ll be consulting widely with industry and other stakeholders to hear their views and inform what will be a transformative scale up of Australia’s solar PV manufacturing capacity,” he said.

This month is the first consultation period. ARENA plans to release a consultation paper with suggested program details, such as goals, funding sources, schedules, and preliminary eligibility and merit standards.

Source Tindo Solar

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