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Here comes the Sunshot consultation period

Manufacturing News

Consultation opened on Tuesday morning on the design of the federal government’s Solar Sunshot program, announced late last month.

Sunshot is budgeted at $1 billion. It was announced on March 28 by prime minister Anthony Albanese during a visit to NSW Hunter Valley, which has a strong heritage in coal mining, pledging to “invest in the path from pit to panels”.

In a statement on Tuesday from Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the agency said it will design the program in consultation with the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW.)

The program “aims to accelerate the development of Australia’s solar manufacturing industry, catalyse clean energy industries,” and help Australia connect to new global solar supply chains.

ARENA added that production-linked payments are proposed as the primary form of financial incentive to invest.

“The scale at which solar needs to be deployed to meet our climate targets means that we cannot rely solely on importing solar panels from overseas. Australia can drive a greater role in PV production to make our supply chain less vulnerable,” said Darren Miller, ARENA’s CEO.

“We’ll be using our deep industry connections and over a decade of experience accelerating Australia’s shift to renewables to ensure the program delivers for industry, communities and all Australians.”

ARENA expects to launch round one of the program in August this year.

The news follows the release of the Silicon 2 Solar roadmap – led by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) and supported by ARENA – in February. The roadmap “indicates Australia has the capacity to participate successfully” in manufacture in solar PV manufacture, ARENA said at the time. 

A tiny proportion of the solar panels installed in Australia are made here. The one company that assembles panels in Australia – Tindo Solar – uses imported cells and other components.

Consultations are open until May 31. More information is available here.

Picture: credit ARENA

Further reading

Study to develop a solar PV supply chain underway

Australia can successfully manufacture for solar PV industry, says new report

Tindo Solar plans $100m solar PV panel gigafactory

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