Tindo Solar plans $100m solar PV panel gigafactory

Australia’s only manufacturer of solar PV panels, Adelaide’s Tindo Solar has announced ambitious plans for a solar PV gigafactory which could produce a third of Australia’s demand for solar panels.

The plan, which would be dependent on support from a state government and backing from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, follows the opening of Tindo’s state of the art 150MW factory in April 2022.

A gigafactory could produce up to 1.9 million panels annually and be completed within two years for a cost of around $100 million according to the company.

CEO Richard Petterson took to social media and said: “I’m thrilled to announce Tindo Solar’s initiative to establish a state-of-the-art solar panel gigafactory right here in Australia.

“Our vision is to commence production by mid-2025, and manufacture 7,000 panels per day at full capacity.”

Patterson said the move went beyond mere manufacturing, and was a commitment to bolstering Australia’s domestic sovereignty and affirming our energy independence.

“Tindo Solar envisions playing a pivotal role in meeting the considerable demand, contributing to the estimated 22,000 PV panels expected to be installed daily to achieve our decarbonisation targets.

“It is critical Australia moves quickly and ensures we enjoy the benefits of the energy transition by creating hundreds of jobs and a domestic renewables manufacturing industry.”

Such a gigafactory would be the largest solar PV factory in Australia since Silex Systems closed a Homebush, NSW plant it had purchased from BP Solar decades ago.

However it would face the same constraints of punishing competition from cheap Chinese made panels that have killed off a number of attempts to establish a solar industry.

Tinto itself does not operate at full capacity, so the market would have to be established for a large local supplier.

One option would be for Australia to follow the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which established a production credit which could reduce the cost of local panels to consumers.

Success would also necessitate the establishment of a component sector for the panels, almost all of which are currently imported.

Patterson said: “As we embark on this exciting journey, we envision not only expanding our manufacturing capacity but also contributing to the growth of a robust and sustainable solar industry within the country.”

While aluminium and electronic components could more easily be sourced locally, glass is an issue as Australia has only one manufacturer of sheet glass.

Tindo is eyeing land in Queensland and NSW for the project and said it had letters of intent from potential purchasers.

Further reading:
Tindo Solar inaugurates new solar PV factory with new Karra panel

Picture: Tindo Solar

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