Australia, Policy, Projects, Renewables, Solar

Australia takes a $1b Sunshot

The Australian Government has unveiled a $1 billion investment aimed at developing a domestic solar panel manufacturing industry and supply chain.

The Solar Sunshot program will provide production subsidies, grants and other forms of support to help capture more of the global solar manufacturing market.

According to the Government, while one in three Australian households has rooftop solar installations – the highest uptake rate in the world – only one per cent of those solar panels are currently manufactured in domestically.

The Solar Sunshot initiative was announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the site of the former coal-fired Liddell Power Station in the Hunter Region of New South Wales.

“Australia should not be just the last link in a global supply chain built on an Australian invention,” Albanese said, referring to the Australian origins of modern solar cell technology.

“We can invest in strategic manufacturing capability for components critical to the energy transition, like solar panels.”

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will consult with industry over the coming months to determine how best to structure and implement the $1 billion in funding support.

All aspects of the solar supply chain will be examined, from ingot and wafer production to cell manufacturing, module assembly, solar glass, inverters and deployment technologies.

The federal Solar Sunshot program complements initiatives at the state level, such as the NSW Government’s $275 million Net Zero Manufacturing fund aimed at helping local businesses capitalise on renewable manufacturing opportunities.

Federal Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen framed the initiative as an economic opportunity.

“The world’s climate emergency is Australia’s jobs opportunity,” he said. “This $1 billion investment will help seize that opportunity through Australian solar manufacturing.”

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