Richard Inwood from Tindo Solar looks at a rosy future for green manufacturing in Australia

Tindo Solar is the only Australian manufacturer of solar modules. We have established a 60 MW plant at Technology Park Adelaide, which at full production could supply around 20% of Australia’s demand for solar (Photo Voltaic) modules. We are passionate about employing Australians and the potential for green manufacturing jobs. We expect Tindo Solar to be directly employing upwards of 100 people at full capacity with around 100 small businesses around Australia providing sales and installation services. We see a future potential for a replication of the plant to produce greater panel quantities and consequently a requirement to employ more staff. Clearly I see an opportunity for South Australia to become the Australian manufacturing centre for solar modules and to rapidly and significantly expand both green manufacturing and research/commercialisation of complimentary renewable products.

There is a neat synergy between the skills within the vehicle manufacturing work force and the skills needed to manufacture a solar module. As we see a potential decline in vehicle manufacturing in Australia, there is good potential to transition some of this work force to renewable and green manufacturing activities.

Currently all solar modules (except Tindo, of course) are imported, with the majority coming from China. Many manufacturers there (and in Germany) are making losses. Aside from concerns about the possibility that manufacturers will cut quality in the face of these losses, panels are in effect being dumped in Australia.

Despite these overseas pressures, Tindo’s aim is to provide the highest quality, best guaranteed, safest and most productive modules possible. By embedding new innovations we aim to take the modules overseas next year. Despite the general gloom surrounding manufacturing in Australia, we want to demonstrate that innovative and automated manufacturing can work here and that jobs can be created in a green manufacturing space that has enormous “blue sky” potential.

Richard Inwood is Manager – People and Business at Tindo Solar Pty Ltd