Roadmap paves path for Australian solar PV manufacturing

5B solar project with folding solar panels (manufacturing)
Image: 5B

An industry roadmap for domestic solar PV manufacturing supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) outlines a credible pathway for Australia to build domestic supply chains from raw material processing to module manufacturing.

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The report titled Silicon 2 Solar (Roadmap) was developed by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) working 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.

The Roadmap provides a framework for Australia to become a viable solar manufacturer, based on detailed technoeconomic analysis for each stage in the solar PV supply chain. It examines four key steps in the supply chain, extending from polysilicon production through the productions of ingots and wafers, followed by the manufacture of solar cells and modules.

Each step in the supply chain involves a number of challenges, but the Roadmap indicates that Australia has the capacity to participate successfully in each stage of the supply chain.
The Roadmap focuses on Australia’s potential to manufacture the current leading solar PV technology based on crystalline silicon solar cells. Australia will also have the potential to commercialise more novel solar technologies as they reach technical and commercial maturity.

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

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said, “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.

“A number of Australian companies have already stated their ambitions to develop local manufacturing of solar PV at scale, and ‘Silicon 2 Solar’ illuminates the policy and investment pathway to make these bold plans a reality.”

Related article: ‘Silicon to Solar’ study to explore Australian manufacturing

ARENA recently released its white paper on the incredible potential of ultra low-cost solar for Australia and the world. At the forefront of the white paper is ARENA’s 30-30-30 vision for ultra low-cost solar in Australia, which represents 30% solar module efficiency and an installed cost of 30c/W by 2030.

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