Aussie firm secures $14m to automate solar array manufacturing

The 5B Maverick is a modular, pre-fabricated solar array that can be built and pre-wired in a factory and deployed rapidly in the field

Big Zero Report 2022

Australian solar technology company 5B has been granted AUD$14 million (£7.3m) to accelerate the automation of its solar arrays production.

The 5B Maverick, launched in 2017, is a modular, pre-fabricated solar array that can be built and pre-wired in a factory and deployed rapidly in the field.

The latest funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will support 5B’s AUD$33.4 million (£17.4m) project, which will design a high-volume, scalable and predominantly automated manufacturing line at its headquarters in Mascot, Sydney.

5B is also working on a GPS Guided Deployment (GGD) field robotic system to automate the process of deploying its technology to improve speed and ensure reliability and safety.

It aims to reduce the overall capital cost of a solar farm featuring its arrays, with a 35% cost reduction forecast by 2024 and a 70% cost reduction by 2030, to 30 cents per watt.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “While solar PV and wind are recognised as the lowest cost form of generation in Australia today, further cost reductions are required to optimise Australia’s transition to renewable electricity and to enable emerging industries such as renewable hydrogen and low emissions metals.

“5B is an Australian success story at the forefront of solar innovation. Having started in 2013, they are now becoming leaders in locally manufactured ultra low cost solar products that could reshape our solar industry and achieve our important aim of 30 cents per installed watt at utility scale by 2030.”

5B supports ARENA’s target of ‘Solar 30 30 30’ to improve solar efficiency to 30% and reduce the cost of solar to 30 cents a watt installed by 2030.

Nicole Kuepper-Russell, 5B Chief Operating Officer added: “The world needs massive scale, ultra low cost solar power fast and this funding will accelerate the delivery of that. It gives us the opportunity to build Australia’s reputation as a clean energy superpower, exporting cutting edge clean technology to the world.”

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