AGL Hunter Energy Hub plans boosted by MOU and SunShot funding announcement

The Hunter based collaboration aims to leverage domestic innovation, partnerships, and government support to drive economic growth in the region and sustainability in the energy sector nationwide.

Sundrive AGL MOU
Image: SunDrive

Sydney based solar tech company SunDrive has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AGL Energy Hubs, as the two work towards establishing a commercial-scale advanced manufacturing facility at the AGL Hunter Energy Hub.

This facility, to be situated in Muswellbrook, is poised to produce high-performing solar panels, a move expected to create hundreds of highly skilled jobs. Negotiations for a material offtake agreement with AGL are also currently underway.

On the announcement, Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese MP said, “These panels, this technology that SunDrive has developed, is the most efficient in the world."

"Why wouldn't you take that opportunity and pair it with AGL's vision that they have, with my government's commitment, with the New South Wales government's commitment to manufacture more things here, whether it's solar panels or train carriages or ferries, or other goods that are used here in New South Wales, and have a future made right here in Australia? That's what the billion-dollar SunShot program is about.”

Last week, the Federal Government unveiled the $1 billion Solar Sunshot initiative, aimed at bolstering domestic solar manufacturing.

Vince Allen, SunDrive’s Co-founder & CEO, expressed enthusiasm, saying, “Australia is the solar technology powerhouse of the world, and today’s (SunShot) announcement means that Australia can not only continue to drive world-leading innovation, but can retain the economic value of the IP, jobs, and talent that come with advanced manufacturing.”

The partnership between SunDrive and AGL is also in line with NSW Government's efforts to support local manufacturing through offtake agreements, a strategy hailed by NSW Minister for Finance, Domestic Manufacturing and Government Procurement and Natural Resources, Courtney Houssos MLC, as an innovative approach to foster local manufacturing opportunities.

Minister Houssos congratulated SunDrive on the announcement and said “This is the kind of economic diversification we want to see as we build towards a clean energy future, fostering those local manufacturing opportunities right here in the Hunter.”

AGL Managing Director and CEO, Damien Nicks, said “Our vision for the Hunter Energy Hub is to create an integrated hub that brings together industries that can make a positive contribution to the energy transition, including renewable energy generation, grid-scale batteries, green advanced manufacturing, and associated industries,” he said.

“Our partnership with SunDrive has the potential to deliver significant benefits for Australia’s energy transition. If successful we will create new jobs and careers in the renewables industry as together, we build a new solar manufacturing industry right here in the NSW Upper Hunter region.”

SunDrive’s final investment decision is contingent upon validating the financial and technical feasibility of the AGL Hunter Energy Hub site and securing sufficient Australian Government support to establish a large-scale facility.

Read more about plans for AGL's Hunter Energy Hub here.

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