Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Climate Change and Energy officially open SunDrive Solar

1 November 2023
Media release
Today the Prime Minister The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP and Minister for Climate Change and Energy, The Hon. Chris Bowen MP, officially opened SunDrive’s solar manufacturing pilot production and commercialisation facility in Kurnell, NSW, today.

For the first time in over a decade Australia has produced a mass-manufactured solar cell.

The Prime Minister said “This facility symbolises everything that my government is about. If you look at the things that we have, it is innovation. It is also then commericalising that innovation.”

“I was elected on a platform of Australia becoming a renewable energy superpower because we’ve seen here precisely the opportunity. Here the fact that technology is changing so that the comparative advantage that countries with lower labour costs had is disappearing. Because as a proportion of the cost of production, as productivity improves, as technology improves, it becomes far less important.”

“What’s important is innovation, creativity and scale. And here we have all of the above. And there’s no reason why Australia can’t be not just a producer of solar panels for domestic use given we are the highest per capita user of solar panels in the world. We can be an exporter of what we produce as well. We know that unless we move forward the world will just move past us.”

“My Government sees the connection between our future economy and our prosperity and the shift to a clean energy economy and dealing with the challenge as the greatest opportunity that we have going forward. An economy that’s driven by clean energy, which is driving advanced manufacturing, which is making more things here, and providing high quality, high-wage jobs for a skilled and innovative workforce here, creating prosperity for our people at the same time as we’re driving down emissions.”

“And I can ensure you that my government has this absolutely front, centre, back, side, behind, up, below, full bit. This is where we are focused. Where we are focused. This is about the environment, but it's about the economy. It’s about what our future economy looks like. And the future economy’s drivers are with business like this one here and with people like you.”

SunDrive Founder and CEO, Vince Allen, said “This is an amazing moment, not only for our company, but for the country. Australia has the opportunity to not only be a renewable energy superpower, but an advanced solar manufacturing powerhouse.”

“Australia is truly blessed with our talent, innovation capability, critical minerals, and access to renewable energy. And with these Australia can establish a domestic solar manufacturing industry that not only helps Australia achieve Net Zero, but the rest of the world too.”

Minister Bowen said “What a great day for SunDrive, a great day for Australia, a great day for all of us and for you and your vision. As the PM said we believe in a future made in Australia and the future’s renewable. And that means making renewables in Australia and this is a big step forward in our country today.”

“As the Prime Minister said, we love solar in Australia. We’ve put 60 million solar panels on our roofs in the last ten years. And to meet our targets, we need to put another 60 million on in the next seven years. But over the last 10 years only 1% of them have been made in Australia. We’re pretty determined to fix that to turn that around.”