Increased residential demand drives growth for Australia’s only solar cell manufacturer
Sydney Olympic Park, 31 March 2011: Australian clean energy company SilexSolar has ramped up production of solar cells and modules by 300% at its Sydney Olympic Park plant, driven by household demand.
Australia’s only manufacturer of solar cells, SilexSolar recently introduced a new factory direct online service for retailers of PV panels, cutting costs for energy-conscious consumers and maintaining a competitive edge against imported solar modules.
SilexSolar General Manager Rod Seares said that the success of SilexSolarDirect (http://www.silexsolardirect.com.au) combined with high profile media discussions around the carbon tax were driving awareness of the benefits of clean power.
“People are increasingly conscious that they will need to address energy prices literally in their own backyard,” Seares said. “We recently installed a new assembly robot and one of the largest laminators in the Southern Hemisphere, which means we are well equipped to handle this growth in throughput -- it is tremendously exciting.
“As Australia’s only solar cell manufacturer, we are delighted both to see demand growing for our solar modules and to continue our drive towards lower production costs.”
SilexSolar employs over 100 people at Olympic Park, where production was increased to 24 hours a day, seven days a week some months ago in anticipation of rising demand.
“Expanding employment opportunities at Australia’s only solar cell facility is a privilege,” Seares said. “Hundreds of jobs were nearly lost when the former owners closed the plant down in 2008. Not only did we save the facility, we have expanded and improved the infrastructure and are working on new models with even greater efficiency. We are just getting started.”
Whilst the Australian solar market has seen growth of up to 400% in recent years, it remains extremely volatile due to its reliance on State and Federal support.
“Although others have talked about local solar cell production, we remain the only Australian company that has successfully invested and reached full production,” Seares said.
“Like many other businesses in Australia who are working towards a clean energy economy, stability is key.”
SilexSolar Pty Ltd
SilexSolar is a wholly own subsidiary of Silex Systems Ltd, which is listed on the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange) as SLX and was founded in 1988.
SilexSolar was established on 29th June 2009 after Silex Systems Ltd acquired the manufacturing assets and equipment of the Sydney Olympic Park (SOP) solar manufacturing facility from BP Solar Pty Ltd. Production commenced in March 2009 after an extensive refurbishment of the facility. In 2011 SilexSolar’s annual manufacturing capacity is rated at approximately 50MW of solar cells and 35MW of solar modules.
SilexSolar supplies the Australian market with solar modules through a network of wholesale distributors and retailers.
• PV manufacturer of world class panels and cells on a commercial scale
• Market product from small scale domestic to large scale commercial and utility sectors
• Optimise conventional mono-crystalline processes to produce PV cells in commercial quantities and at low cost with conversion efficiencies of 17% or better by mid of 2010.
• Thereafter to develop and implement advanced mono-silicon processing to achieve conversion efficiencies in excess of 20%, in commercial quantities and at low cost.
Rod Seares, General Manager, SilexSolar Pty Ltd
P: +61 2 9704 8888