See Inside The New $5 Million Tindo Solar Panel Factory

SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock chats with Tindo Solar’s Glenn Morelli and takes a look inside Tindo’s brand new solar panel factory in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

Transcript begins —

Finn: So – why the new factory, what was wrong with the old one?

Glenn: Well, a couple of things really. We had a lease that was expiring and needed to move out for one reason. And then the opportunity came along to build a new line as well for the manufacturing process. The evolution of cells; moving from the old type cell technology to the M10 that we’ve currently taken up.

Finn: So the M10 cell that you’re putting in these new solar panels, that’s a bigger cell1

Glenn: Yeah, it’s a little bit bigger and more efficient.

Finn: And then what are you doing about the trend, if you like, I think it’s probably permanent, but it’s hard to find a panel that is not half-cut now. That’s a completely different way of making panels.

Glenn: That’s another new feature of our line; so we can do half cut cells and that’ll be what we’ll be rolling off as soon as we are commissioned.

Finn: So how much more throughput will you get in this factory compared to the old one?

Glenn: In rough numbers, this is about treble the throughput from the old plant.

Finn: Wow, so that’s obviously based on demand?

Glenn: Yeh, based on demand – since COVID, we’ve had huge demand. There’s a real push, particularly from community, for Australian-made.

Australian-Made Vs. Australian-Assembled

Finn: And speaking about Australian-made; one thing I’m hearing from some installers, which I personally disagree with, but this is the argument and I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times. “Those Tindo guys, they don’t make solar panels, they assemble solar panels.”

Glenn: What we say to that is, if it was that easy we wouldn’t have invested about 5 million dollars in a new line to start with. We’ve got a lot of high-tech state-of-the-art equipment here to do that process. Everything from starting with the cells; we’ve got to laser cut them for the half cut cells.

The whole line is automated. There’ll be eight people running the line and every one of those people are really QA. So there’ll be over 20 QA steps in the process, managed by eight people running the line.

Finn: So people that think it’s easy to make a solar panel – guys; just come to the factory and see that the effort that these guys put into commissioning the line, into running the line, into keeping the QA on the line. And I know how hard this stuff is.

Demand For Australian Solar Panels Increases

So there’s a solar panel shortage. Well, there’s a shortage of everything at the moment it seems; but that includes solar panels. How’s that affected Tindo?

Glenn: We’ve seen huge spike in inquiries, particularly from resellers or wholesale avenues interstate, and from our average level inquiry to the last few months.

Finn: So more people are looking to buy Australian-made?

Glenn: I think consumer-driven for Australian-made during COVID, higher quality. The market’s been educated that cheapest isn’t necessarily best. The panel shortage in China is giving that a push along.

Finn: So you’re currently commissioning this factory. You’ve built a huge stock of solar panels behind us to get you through. What’s the future after that?

Glenn: We hope to push into other states and attract more resellers for us and really expand rapidly through Australia with our brand new line that can make panels as good as anybody in the world.

Finn: So thanks for letting us into the factory today mate, I know you’re busy commissioning a new factory. Once it’s up and running, if people actually want to see what’s involved in a solar panel, can they come and visit?

Glenn: A hundred percent. We designed the factory floor to be able to run factory tours so people can ring us up, book in a time. We’ll give them a one-on-one guided tour.

Finn: If you’re watching this you’re probably a solar nerd – I’m a solar nerd and an ex-manufacturing engineer. It’s just geek-out heaven here. Come and visit it when it’s up and running – it’s awesome.

— Transcript ends.

You can check out Tindo Solar panel reviews here, submitted by Australians who have had the company’s modules installed.

This segment was from SolarQuotes TV Episode 11: The Australian-Made Solar Edition – see how Australian researchers and manufacturers are transforming the renewable energy sector with their home-grown solar technologies.

Footnotes

  1. M10 wafer (182 mm x 182 mm) compared to current G1 format (158.7 mm x 158.7 mm).
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Norbert Reni says

    High tech. Wow. Automated. Great. Just curious though – how many people are on the payroll?

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