AGL and SunDrive explore solar manufacturing at Hunter Hub

Close up shot of blue solar panel being manufactured in sterile looking factory setting (solar manufacturing)
Image: Shutterstock

AGL and solar technology company SunDrive have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the development of a solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing facility at AGL’s future Hunter Energy Hub in the Hunter Region, NSW.

The federal government has announced a $1 billion Solar Sunshot support package to develop solar panel manufacturing in Australia. If established, the advanced manufacturing facility is expected to be the first of its kind in Australia.

Related article: AGL explores battery recycling for Hunter Energy Hub

This agreement is the latest partnership AGL has signed as the company transforms the Liddell Power Station and Bayswater Power Station sites into a low carbon integrated energy hub, following the closure of Liddell Power Station in April 2023, and taking its final investment decision (FID) on the 500MW two-hour grid-scale Liddell battery in December 2023.

The feasibility study with SunDrive will outline key infrastructure and engineering requirements and identify the regulatory approvals and licences necessary for the development, construction, and operation of a solar PV manufacturing facility located in the Hunter Energy Hub Advanced Manufacturing Precinct.

As part of the MoU, AGL and SunDrive will also explore an offtake agreement for AGL to purchase SunDrive’s unique solar panels for AGL’s customers. AGL is the leading deployer of solar PV to commercial and industrial users in Australia and has approximately 600,000 residential and business customers with solar deployed.

AGL managing director and CEO Damien Nicks said the MoU has the potential to help create a new solar manufacturing industry in Australia.

Related article: Report: Better solar recycling needed to deal with PV waste

“Our vision for the Hunter Energy Hub is to create a low carbon integrated energy hub— designed with circular economy principles—that brings together industries that can make a positive contribution to the energy transition, including renewable energy generation, grid-scale batteries, green advanced manufacturing, and associated industries,” Nicks said.

SunDrive developed the world’s most efficient commercial-size solar cell in 2021. The company plans to manufacture these solar cells at its first commercial-scale manufacturing facility at AGL’s Hunter Energy Hub if the feasibility study is successful.

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