Funding ‘5B Maverick’ solar farm tech boosts scalable ultra low cost solar solutions

Joint release with Assistant Minister to the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction the Hon Tim Wilson MP

The Morrison Government is strengthening its support for ultra low cost solar technologies through funding for 5B to automate the production and deployment system of its utility-scale solar array product known as the 5B Maverick.

The Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is providing $14 million to support 5B’s $33.4 million strategic technology innovation project at its headquarters in Mascot, Sydney. The project will help provide low cost solar panels, a reliable renewable electricity system, and lower emissions.

5B is an Australian company with a vision of delivering ultra low cost solar power. 5B’s flagship product, the Maverick, is a prefabricated solar array structure that is assembled in a factory and deployed rapidly in the field.

The Government’s investment in the project is comprised of two components: a redesign of the existing manual assembly line for Maverick PV solar panels, and a pilot for an automated deployment system.

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the 5B Maverick solar arrays could see a significant reduction in the overall capital cost of a solar farm towards 30 cents per watt by 2030, which is well aligned with the Government’s Low Emissions Technology Statement priorities.

“The 5B Maverick solar arrays manufactured in Sydney will not only reduce power costs, but also improve speed and ensure reliability and safety for solar energy consumers,” Minister Taylor said.

“5B is at the forefront of Australian solar innovation. The project will develop a GPS guided field robotic system to automate the process of deploying the 5B Maverick to improve speed, reliability and safety, which is a game changer in the industry.”

Assistant Minister to the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Tim Wilson, said “scalable ultra low cost solar technology is critical to Australia’s future carbon neutral economy to deliver competitiveness and cut emissions.”

“5B’s pilot deployment system will cut the cost of solar, increase scalable solar solutions and drive uptake. 5B will support heavy industries produce and use low emission materials such as green steel and aluminium,” Assistant Minister Wilson said.

“The 5B Maverick is just another example of how to lead Australia’s decarbonisation through technology, not taxes.”

5B has rolled out its Maverick design in a wide range of sites across Australia, including in the Northern Territory as part of the Solar SETuP project co-funded by ARENA and the Northern Territory Government, in South Australia as part of Santos’ project to power their beam pumps with solar, and on brownfield former landfill sites.

ARENA has already provided over $290 million to around 300 solar research and development projects and recently announced a new funding round of up to $40 million to support ultra low cost solar research and development.

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