Tindo Solar, Australia’s only PV panel manufacturer, has officially launched its new production and innovation facility at Mawson Lakes in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. The factory is more than three times the size of the company’s previous manufacturing facility and includes an assembly line that has the capacity to produce up to 150 MW of solar panels per annum.
The facility also houses the Australian Centre for Excellence in Photovoltaics (ACEPV) which the company said is designed to bring together industry and research partners with the goal of increasing Australia’s module manufacturing capability while also improving production and efficiency of final installed systems.
Tindo Solar’s new production line was commissioned late last year but the entire facility was officially launched this week with a ceremony attended by Australia’s energy minister who used the opportunity to call for an expansion of the domestic solar panel manufacturing capacity, saying the nation needs to maximise the benefits of its world-leading research and development to build sovereign capability and maintain energy security.
Australia leads the world with the rollout of rooftop solar with an estimated 33% of houses having solar panels on their roofs but Bowen said less than 1% of those installed solar panels are made in Australia. Most panels, and their component parts, come from China.
Bowen said an estimated 85% of the world’s solar panels are currently manufactured in China, and it is estimated that nation’s share of the market will rise to 98% over the next three or four years.
“The irony is, the solar panel, the modern solar panel is effectively an Australian invention, invented at the University of New South Wales and Australian National University,” Bowen said. “That technology that you see in more than 90% of the world’s solar panels comes from Australian ingenuity.”
“Yet, apart from this building,” he said, referencing the Tindo facility, “we don’t make solar panels in Australia. Over the last decade we’ve put 60 million solar panels on our roofs, and 1% of them have been made in our country, an Australian invention. It is unthinkable that we let that continue like that.”
Bowen said the government is working to formulate policy settings that would foster a domestic solar panel manufacturing industry and is “very, very confident” that it will eventuate in the coming years.
“With the right policies in place, we will be a renewable energy and manufacturing powerhouse,” he said.
Tindo Solar Managing Director Glenn Morelli said the company and the ACEPV is committed to playing a role in the development of a PV supply chain.
“For Tindo, this factory is just the beginning, and we want to be the catalyst for a domestic solar supply chain that means every part of the panel can be manufactured locally, creating thousands of jobs and giving every Aussie the opportunity to have locally made panels producing power on their roofs,” he said.
“At the ACEPV we have the engineers and the technical skills to commercially produce one of the highest-performing solar panels in the world.
“If Australia is going to lead the world in the energy transition, we have to develop a sovereign capability in renewables.”
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