Consultation launched for $1 billion Solar Sunshot program in Australia

Image credit: ARENA's Twitter

The Australian Government has initiated consultations on the blueprint of the Solar Sunshot program, a $1 billion initiative announced in March 2024.

Collaboratively spearheaded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW), the program aims to expedite the growth of Australia’s solar manufacturing sector, invigorate clean energy industries, and foster connections to burgeoning global solar supply networks.

Furthermore, ARENA has issued a consultation paper delineating a suggested framework for the program, which may involve delivering it through successive funding rounds that support various stages of the supply chain.

The agency, guided by feedback garnered through consultation, will explore the viability of capital grant funding or alternative concessional support to complement production-linked payments, thereby advancing program objectives.

Accessible through the Solar Sunshot webpage, ARENA invites written submissions via online forms, alongside hosting two informative consultation webinars.

According to ARENA CEO Darren Miller, the consultation process will assist ARENA in identifying the most effective method for administering the $1 billion initiative.

Miller added, “ARENA will be working closely with industry to design a program that supports innovative and competitive solar PV manufacturing that is critical to securing Australia’s role in the transition to a net zero world.”

Recognizing the imperative for Australia to reduce reliance on imported solar panels, Miller underscored the potential for domestic PV production to fortify the nation’s supply chain resilience.

“We’ll be using our deep industry connections and over a decade of experience accelerating Australia’s shift to renewables to ensure the program delivers for industry, communities and all Australians,” he stressed.

With the consultation window spanning until 31 May 2024, stakeholders are encouraged to contribute their insights.

For details, including access to the consultation paper, webinar schedules, and submission portal, click here.