Grants and funding, Local Manufacturing, Manufacturing News

Australian PV solar manufacturing receives $1bn boost

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has welcomed $1 billion in new funding to help unlock domestic solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing, through the Federal Government Solar Sunshot program.

The Australian Government announced the establishment of the Solar Sunshot program to grow solar PV manufacturing in Australia and provide a pathway for the rich history of local solar PV innovation to be commercialised.

The program will be delivered by ARENA, with development and design to be done in collaboration with the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW).

ARENA chief executive officer Darren Miller said, “ARENA has been at the forefront of building Australia’s solar PV industry through its support for research, innovation and large-scale deployment. This has helped solar to become our cheapest form of energy,”

“To date, ARENA has invested more than $830 million towards 233 solar PV projects. We are ready to take on the next step alongside others in the solar industry to create a domestic solar manufacturing industry,” said Miller.

Solar Sunshot is intended to provide support across the solar PV supply chain, including the scaling up of module manufacturing capabilities and exploration of other areas of the supply chain where grant funding can help kickstart the industry.

This could include polysilicon, ingots and wafers, cells, module assembly, and other parts of the solar supply chain, including solar glass, advanced deployment technology, or other aspects identified through industry consultation.

ARENA funded the Australian Photovoltaic Institute’s (APVI) Silicon to Solar Report to investigate solar manufacturing capability and potential in Australia.

The report outlined a credible pathway for a domestic supply chain that could result in benefits such as securing access to solar PV components as Australia significantly scales up deployment of solar PV, creating local jobs, attracting significant private investment and unlocking potential export opportunities.

“Australia has the opportunity to build high quality products across the solar PV supply chain. Although we have a very small production capability today, we have the skills and the partnerships to establish a strong base that can be built on over the next decade,” said Miller.

ARENA and DCCEEW will publish a consultation paper outlining proposed specifications for the program, including objectives, funding mechanisms, timings, and draft eligibility and merit criteria.

Miller said in order to unlock our renewable energy superpower vision, we need to be able to play a part in the whole supply chain.

“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,” said Miller.

Following the consultation period, ARENA and DCCEEW will develop the final program design.

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