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Australian Government To Invest In Solar Panel Manufacturing

Australian Government To Invest In Solar Panel Manufacturing

Australian-Government-To-Invest-In-Solar-Panel-Manufacturing

It’s about time!

The Australian Government unveiled a funding commitment of up to $1 billion for the Solar Sunshot program on March 28, 2024. This initiative aims to bolster Australia’s solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing capabilities. Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, says they want “to supercharge Australia’s ambition to become a renewable energy super power at home and abroad”.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) will be consulting closely with industry to design and deliver this program.

According to the ARENA website: The program aims to support innovative manufacturing facilities in Australia across the solar supply chain. The supply chain includes polysilicon production, production of ingots, wafers, solar PV cells, and solar module assembly. The program may also support complementary aspects of the supply chain such as solar glass, module frames, deployment technology and other innovation or manufacturing elements required for solar deployment. Consultation will commence in April 2024. ARENA intends to publish a consultation paper for feedback across a wide range of topics to inform program design and delivery timelines. 

Australia has a range of metals and minerals in minerals which need to be utilised in the right way to help the environment and the economy. “We have every metal and critical mineral necessary to be a central player in the net zero transformation,” Albanese said, “and a proven track record as a reliable energy producer and exporter. We can also invest in strategic manufacturing capability, particularly in components critical to the energy and economic transition.”

The primary hurdle we’re confronting is Australia’s tardiness to enter the fray, resulting in the dominance of numerous overseas giants, particularly China, in the industry. There’s an urgent need for Australia to implement necessary reforms to reduce reliance on overseas markets and foster a larger market for local companies.

With only 1 percent of solar panels installed in Australia, there’s a substantial gap to bridge to significantly impact the industry. This statistic is particularly striking given Australia’s high adoption rate of rooftop solar panels globally.

“Australia should not be just the last link in a global supply chain built on an Australian invention,” Albanese said.

The NSW government opened the first round of its million Net Zero Manufacturing Initiative to coincide with Solar Sunshot, committing $275 million, which NSW Minister for Domestic Manufacturing Courtney Houssos said would drive demand for local panel manufacturers.

“We will leverage our government procurement spend to build in offtake agreements with local solar manufacturers and foster the industry’s growth,” Houssos said.

Change is underway. Despite its late arrival, this initiative provides Australia with an opportunity. The establishment of Australian solar manufacturing not only contributes to environmental preservation but also unlocks a plethora of job opportunities, bolstering the economy.

Reference.

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