Australia: new AC-module plant opens

Having attained certification from the German Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies (VDE), Australia’s only photovoltaic module manufacturer was opened today. Tindo Solar will produce modules called the "Karra-240" modules, which feature Enecsys micro inverters resulting in a 240-volt AC output.

The AC output is a key selling point, claim Tindo, as it offers a safer rooftop photovoltaic module. The company also claims that the modules can be installed onto corrugated-iron rooftops, common in Australia, with minimal mountings.

Tindo also claims that due to the integration of the Enecsys micro inverters, the modules are better suited to hot Australian conditions. Q-Cells crystalline solar cells have been used.

The plant is opening at a time when falling module prices have seen many manufacturers struggle to turn a profit, however Tindo claims that because of its fab’s high degree of automation, modules can be produced at prices that are competitive with Chinese modules.

Australia’s only other module manufacturer, SilexSolar, closed its Sydney manufacturing facility in November, citing the dumping of cheap modules from Asia and a weak Australian PV market as the crucial factors. In the annual general meeting of its parent company, Silex Systems Ltd. late last month, CEO Michael Goldsworthy claimed that, "local production is uncompetitive in this environment".

Silex CPV project

Another Silex Systems subsidiary, Solar Systems Pty. Ltd., has shown more positive signs of late. This week it announced that a pilot project, to test its concentrated photovoltaic technology (CPV), is going ahead. Construciton has begun at the initial two-MW plant at Mildura in Victoria. If tests are successful, Silex Systems hopes to complete a 100-MW CPV plant at the site. More than AUD125 million (USD127 million) has been pledged by state and federal government to support the project.