SilexSolar has suspended all manufacturing as it continues to restructure in response to the downturn in Australia’s solar industry. The company has placed its Homebush Bay facility into ‘care and maintenance’ mode and in the process made all employees in production, as well as several engineering, technical and administrative staff, redundant.
Silex has operated out of the Homebush Bay facility, located within the Sydney Olympic Park, since 2009, when it acquired the site from BP Solar. Its closure is the latest step of a cost-reduction programme, which began in August with the replacement of the in-house cells in its modules with those of new strategic partner Hareon Solar. The company has sufficient inventory to support sales over the next few months, and will focus its efforts on the residential rooftop and medium-scale commercial project markets.
A number of factors have contributed to the deterioration of the Australian PV market, including the high Australian dollar and the worldwide decrease in panel prices. However, the primary culprit is a near-countrywide abandonment of governmental support, with subsidy cuts, closures and adjustments in ACT, NSW, Victoria and WA, and more on the horizon.
While Silex contemplates the future of the manufacturing side of its business, another company, Tindo Solar, is gearing up to start production at a new factory in Mawson Lakes, South Australia. The factory is expected to be operational by the end of the month and when it reaches full capacity it will produce around 250,000 panels annually.