Renewable energy company RTE Energy has revealed plans to construct an 860 MW heterojunction solar PV panel factory near Townsville, in the Australian state of Queensland.
While details about the project remain scant, RTE Energy has revealed that the manufacturing facility will produce heterojunction solar cells, using technology provided by Switzerland-based manufacturer EcoSolifer.
Heterojunction solar cells, a technology that is already in large-scale production, are expected to significantly grow in terms of market share over the next decade. They rely on a layer of amorphous silicon to provide passivation and improve cell performance.
EcoSolifer commenced commercial production of its bifacial heterojunction solar cells in 2020 with a manufacturing line provided by heterojunction specialist Meyer Burger, at a 100 MW factory in Hungary. The company said the cells produced at the facility have now reached a conversion efficiency of 24.1%, but it noted that the results were still being confirmed by a third party.
RTE Energy said its heterojunction cells will be manufactured at its Townsville facility, with modules to be assembled on site. Construction of the factory, which will be partly powered by solar energy, is set to commence in 2022. Construction of an adjacent solar farm to power the factory will begin in 2023. Manufacturing is expected to start in 2023, with full production by March 2024.
The project will put RTE Energy into competition with Australia-based PV module manufacturer Tindo Solar. At present, Tindo Solar – which has been manufacturing solar PV modules in Adelaide for more than a decade – is in the process of commissioning a new factory in the city. The new facility will boost the company’s production capacity to 150 MW per annum and see Tindo Solar transition to the latest M10 cell technology.
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