A roadmap released by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) has outlined a pathway for Australia to develop a domestic solar PV industry and how it could overcome potential challenges across the supply chain. 

The report, titled Silicon 2 Solar, was supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and developed by the APVI in collaboration 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 techno-economic analysis for each stage in the solar PV supply chain.

The roadmap 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 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 has said that as Australia significantly ramps up its rate of solar PV installations from current levels of approximately 5GW per annum, it will be critical to maintain reliable and diversified sources of supply. By contributing towards global supply chains, Australia will reduce the potential risk to its required energy transformation and also play a greater role in the world’s net zero ambitions.

ARENA’s CEO, Darren Miller, said that the roadmap provides a clear vision for Australia’s role as a nation that can manufacture cutting edge solar technology across the supply chain, leveraging some of Australia’s competitive advantages in the sector.

“Australia has already demonstrated its capacity to manufacture advanced technology in other sectors,” Mr Miller said. 

“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.”

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