Domestic solar manufacturing is feasible, report shows


Wednesday, 07 February, 2024

Domestic solar manufacturing is feasible, report shows

Australia is capable of building domestic solar PV supply chains, according to a new report from the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI).

Currently, the nation is a strong contributor to solar PV research and development (R&D) and a major market for solar PV, but lacks any significant domestic manufacturing capability and is heavily reliant on other markets for a supply of low-cost solar PV modules.

To produce the report, titled ‘Silicon to Solar’, APVI worked with Deloitte and a group of key industry stakeholders, including The Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP), AGL, Aspiradac, Energus, Siemens, SunDrive, Tindo Solar and 5B.

Based on detailed techno-economic analysis for each stage in the solar PV supply chain, the report provides a framework for Australia to become a viable solar manufacturer. It examines several key steps: polysilicon production, the production of ingots and wafers, and the manufacture of solar cells and modules.

While the focus of this study is on Australia’s ability to manufacture the current leading solar PV technology based on crystalline silicon solar cells, there is also the potential to commercialise more novel solar technologies as they reach technical and commercial maturity.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the report provides a clear vision for Australia’s role as a nation that can manufacture cutting-edge solar technology across the supply chain, leveraging some of Australia’s competitive advantages in the sector.

“Australia has already demonstrated its capacity to manufacture advanced technology in other sectors. Solar PV represents an enormous opportunity to apply our skills to a sector that will play a critical role in Australia’s clean energy economy,” Miller said.

“A number of Australian companies have already stated their ambitions to develop local manufacturing of solar PV at scale, and ‘Silicon to Solar’ illuminates the policy and investment pathway to make these bold plans a reality.”

The full report is available here.

Image caption: Solar panels in the middle of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia. Image credit: iStock.com/zetter

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