Electrical, Manufacturing News, Sustainability

Solar-panel giga-factory to support Solar Sunshot Program

Tindo Solar follows Solar Sunshot policy in its plans for Australian first solar panel ‘Gigafactory’.

The Solar Sunshot allocates $1 billion to support solar PV manufacturing over 10 years and Tindo plans to apply for funding for a project which could create up to 300 jobs.

Tindo Chief Executive Officer Richard Petterson said Solar Sunshot was a tightly focused funding allocation that relied on production credits, where a manufacturer had to make the goods before receiving assistance.

He said the production credits are a short-term mechanism to help narrow the price gap between locally made panels and imports, while the industry scales.

At this point locally manufactured products will be increasingly competitive and a domestic supply chain will emerge. 

“Countries are shifting their energy systems to renewable sources, and they must maintain a level of sovereign control of those new systems by supporting local manufacturing.

“This means the Australian renewables industry is competing with Beijing, Washington and Brussels. The Sunshot program attempts to neutralise this discrepancy and to have some sovereign capability in our emerging energy system,” said Petterson.

Petterson said the Sunshot program was only in the consultation period, however, Tindo was proposing an expansion of its current facility in Adelaide to capacity.

This brings 45 new jobs and at the same time building a ‘Gigafactory’ on the East Coast, capable of producing 1GW of premium quality panels per annum.

The $90-100 million Gigafactory will create 250 jobs and be capable of producing 7000 panels per day and will go some way to meeting the estimated 22,000 panels to meet Australia’s 2030 decarbonisation targets. 

Based on its experience at its 150MW factory in Adelaide, Tindo estimates that 1GW+ is the scale required to catalyse a domestic downstream supply chain.

Petterson said Australia’s high-quality resources industry and advanced manufacturing capability, created an opportunity to develop an entire solar PV supply, so long as the scale was sufficient to justify the investment.

“There is clear need for Australia to build sovereign capability in renewables manufacturing, and to ensure there is more Australian-made content in clean energy infrastructure as we decarbonise our electricity system. To build a renewables manufacturing industry we need scale, and we see Sunshot as a practical short-term way to do that.

“This type of short-term support will unlock huge investment in Australia, creating thousands of jobs and ensuring our country shares in more of the benefits of the energy transition,” said Petterson.

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