SilexSolar will expand the production capacity at its Sydney Olympic Park (SOP) manufacturing facility, in response to reportedly increasing demand for the company’s Australian-made solar photovoltaic panels for the domestic rooftop market.
The expansion will take place in two stages, the first of which is planned for the fourth quarter of 2010, with the scheduled installation of automated assembly equipment which will take the capacity from ~13MW to ~20MW per year by early 2011.
The second stage of equipment upgrades will occur in the middle of 2011, with the aim of increasing annual panel production capacity to approximately 35MW; however, the second stage will depend on continuing demand. The total capital expenditure for the two-stage upgrade will be approximately AUS$2 million.
Michael Goldsworthy, Silex CEO, said, “With the Australian residential rooftop panel market growing strongly from 80MW in 2009 to a forecast 130MW in 2010, we have seen very strong demand for our Australian-made PV panels across the country. With margins in the global PV market tight, it is important that we increase our production capacity and improve solar cell efficiency in order to remain competitive.
SilexSolar is also developing higher efficiency solar cell technology at the SOP plant in collaboration with the University of NSW and Suntech Power under a research program, which was recently awarded AUS$5 million funding from the Australian Solar Institute. This project aims to increase solar cell efficiency from around 17% to approximately 20% by 2012, which would potentially increase the panel plant’s production capacity.
SilexSolar is the only Australian manufacturer of crystalline silicon solar cells and panels, and claims a strong commitment to Australian solar technology innovation.