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Australian solar panel plant opens

29th Oct 2012

A new solar panel manufacturer in Australia has been opened by prime minister Julia Gillard - and it is already making some bold claims about competing with China.

The plant, the only one of its kind in the country, is a 60 MW solar module facility owned by Tindo Solar and based in Adelaide.

According to Tindo, the factory can produce a new panel in less than three minutes, with around 240,000 panels expected to be manufactured each year.

It produces a panel that it claims is both innovative and world class - and listed a number of its features in an attempt to back this up.

Managing director Adrian Ferraretto said the panel (or AC module as he calls it) has been shown through research to be 15 per cent more productive than a regular DC panel.

Not only this, he noted, but owners of these systems can monitor the real-time performance of each individual panel through the internet or a smartphone.

The manufacturer is also committing to an industry first - a 25-year warranty on its products.

But that's not all. Manager of people and business Richard Inwood said the plant will soon be able to produce panels at the same price as those imported from China, creating an entirely new industry area.

And he was quick to confirm that there is a real demand for Australian-made solar panels, although for a similar price to Chinese imports. 

"The interest received so far by the public across Australia confirms our [belief] that Australians want to select an Australian made solar module that has quality and performance embedded in each panel," he explained.

Ms Gillard complimented the plant, claiming it dispels myths that there is nothing people can do about climate change.

"And the other myth that's been busted is that we are a country that can’t manufacture anymore," she added. "That can't see new manufacturing enterprises; that we can't compete."

"But standing here we can really say this is a business that is going to make a contribution for the future."

The prime minister was accompanied by South Australia (SA) premier Jay Weatherill and SA minister Tom Koutsantonis.

Tindo currently only employs 12 people, AAP reports, but is hoping to expand its operations to 100 employees within three years' time.

The plant is said to be able to meet the solar PV needs of up to 20 per cent of the Australian population.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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