Nextracker and Orrcon Steel forge manufacturing alliance for Australian solar industry

The first project scheduled to receive delivery of Australian made steel components from the facility is ACCIONA Energia’s 480MWp Aldoga Solar Farm to be built near Gladstone. Image credit: Nextracker

Nextracker, a global leader in solar tracker and software solutions, has joined forces with Orrcon Steel, a prominent Australian manufacturer of tube and pipe products to manufacture critical components for the former’s smart solar trackers.

The agreement signifies a strategic move towards localising the production of essential components for distributed generation and utility-scale solar farms, Nextracker said in a media release.

The project slated to benefit from this collaboration is ACCIONA Energia’s Aldoga Solar Farm, a 480MWp venture set to be erected near Gladstone.

Under this partnership, critical steel components will be manufactured from BlueScope’s steel coil at Orrcon Steel’s state-of-the-art facilities in Brisbane.

The process will be completed at Orrcon Steel’s Northgate site by Baojia, Nextracker’s global manufacturing partner, before being delivered to engineering procurement contractors (EPCs) for installation.

The inauguration of the new manufacturing facility, graced by key dignitaries including Queensland Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs Mick de Brenni marks a significant milestone in Australia’s journey towards energy sovereignty.

Peter Wheale, Nextracker’s general manager for the region, highlighted the collaboration’s role in creating local manufacturing jobs and supporting Queensland’s Energy and Jobs Plan.

“We support Queensland’s Energy and Jobs Plan and applaud their ambitions to create jobs for the clean energy economy,” Wheale noted.

Tania Archibald, chief executive of BlueScope Australian Steel Products, underscored BlueScope’s commitment to sustainability and its pivotal role in enabling Australia’s energy transition through investments in local operations.

“As part of this program, we’ve been undertaking a range of climate related initiatives – not just in progressing our own ambitions for lower emissions steelmaking – but focusing on supplying our high-quality steel products that support our customers and the Australian industry more broadly participate in the energy transition,” Archibald remarked.

Tony Schreiber, chair of the Australian Steel Institute and General Manager of Orrcon Steel, expressed the company’s ambition to play a significant role in Australia’s renewable energy supply chain.

He outlined Orrcon Steel’s investments in expanding its capabilities to support the renewable energy sector, positioning the business as a key supplier for utility-scale solar projects.

The newly commissioned manufacturing facility is set to create 16 new jobs and produce up to 50,000 tonnes of torque tubes annually, equivalent to over 2.5GW of utility-scale solar farms.

This initiative not only strengthens Australia’s manufacturing sector but also reinforces Nextracker’s position as the market leader for solar tracker systems in the country.