Australia’s real solar potential

The Albanese Government is backing a new study to explore opportunities for production of solar panels and components here at home. Onshore manufacturing will strengthen our solar supply chains and support Australia’s energy transformation, renewable energy export potential and new energy jobs market.

The $1.12 million Silicon to Solar study, an initiative of the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI), will receive more than $541,000 in grant funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Australia can, not only be a world leader in solar photovoltaic (PV) installation, but we can also become a major manufacturer of solar panels for our leading domestic market and an exporter to the rest of the world.

Australia has the resources, the people, and the market scale as a future renewable energy exporter to play a major role in solar PV manufacturing, and this study will examine what’s needed to make that happen.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, said urgent action was required to diversify the clean energy supply chains that drive the global energy transition.

“We’ve put 60 million solar panels on roofs in Australia in the last 10 years. One per cent of them have been made in Australia. We aim to change that,” Minister Bowen said.

“To achieve net zero, the world is going to need more reliable supply chains to meet surging demand for solar panels and Australia has what it takes to be a major supplier.

“Over 80 percent of today’s global solar PV manufacturing uses technology developed in Australian laboratories.

"While we’ve been a global leader in solar PV deployment, we rely too heavily on overseas supply for our solar panels, which poses major risks due to production concentration and vulnerabilities in the supply chain.”

The ARENA-supported project will explore the challenges and opportunities for producing solar panels, our leadership in solar PV R&D, and our potential as a renewable superpower to underpin a thriving manufacturing industry.

It follows the launch of ARENA’s white paper on the incredible potential of Ultra Low-Cost Solar (ULCS) for Australia and the world, launched today.

The International Energy Agency estimates 1,300 manufacturing jobs could be created for each gigawatt of solar PV production capacity, meaning a domestic solar PV supply chain could create thousands of jobs in Australia.

APVI will conduct the study in partnership with the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, a world leader in research and development in solar power technology.