5B acquires Adelaide manufacturing plant ahead of global gigawatt-scale push

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With its popularity showing no signs of slowing, Sydney-headquartered company 5B on Tuesday announced it would acquire its longterm manufacturing partner IXL Solar’s Adelaide-based facility, which supplies solar mounting solutions and previously belonged to the centuries-old IXL manufacturing group.

Since the end of 2018, IXL Solar has been for all intents and purposes the sole Australian manufacturer of 5B’s Maverick array system, which has won the company widespread favour for its prefabricated, scalable, and rapidly deployable ground-mounted design.

The acquisition of IXL Solar will help 5B rapidly scale ahead of its Maverick technology’s deployment in some truly massive projects, including Sun Cable in the Northern Territory, which will see up to 20 GW of solar built to export power to Singapore through a sub-sea cable.

Sun Cable has secured funding to progress its plans to manufacture 5B’s Maverick solar array.

Image: 5B

While the acquisition marks a bringing in-house of the company’s Australian manufacturing capability, which already existed onshore but to a limited degree and primarily for research and development (R&D) purposes, pv magazine Australia has been told the company has no plans to pursue a vertical integration model.

Rather, the move is about bolstering 5B’s capabilities in Australia to further refine its product blueprint and use that knowledge to better train its international assembly partners. 5B will continue its model of expansion via international assembly partnerships. 

Continuing this model, 5B will remain focussed on product innovation, using its newly acquired Adelaide facility to further streamline manufacturing process. The company will keep its Mascot campus as its primary product R&D facility, with the Adelaide facility to become its advanced manufacturing centre of excellence.

Chris McGrath, 5B Co-Founder and CEO

5B

5B will retain all 20 manufacturing specialists and staff at IXL Solar, folding them into the team with the company eager to make the most of a plant set up by a company, IXL group, with more than 160 years of experience in manufacturing.

“The world needs massive scale, ultra low cost solar power, fast, and we are constantly seeking ways to accelerate the growth of our team and scaling of our 5B Maverick solar deployment platform,” 5B Co-Founder and CEO, Chris McGrath said. 

“The IXL Solar team joining 5B will be highly impactful in achieving such acceleration and will reinforce the manufacturing outcomes of our 5B Maverick technology at gigawatt-scale for our customers and 5B Ecosystem Partners – including in terms of time, cost, quality, safety and sustainability.”

Since its first project in 2017, 5B has completed 52 projects, with over 32 MWp capacity. Today, it is successfully selling and delivering to some of the biggest utility scale players globally, with its technology expected to be deployed on the world’s largest planned solar project, Sun Cable.

For IXL, the sale represents an evolution of its long-standing relationship with 5B, with the company becoming a 5B shareholder. “We have supported [5B’s] growth and ambitious pipeline to supply some of the world’s largest gigawatt-scale solar projects,” IXL Chairman Rob Backwell said. “We see this transaction as an opportunity for our staff to grow and succeed with 5B, and take Australian innovation to the world,” he added.

IXL will continue to own the IXL Solar name, though the company said it has no plans to operate a business under that name.

5B’s Maverick assembly

5B

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