New Energy Insights: Bulletin – Solar Sunshot consultation opens funding for Australian solar manufacturing

Consultation period opens

Consultation for the $1 billion Solar Sunshot funding program (the Program) opened on 23 April 2024. The consultation period is designed to assist the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in determining the best approach for delivering the package.

The Program was announced in March 2024 and aims to accelerate the development of Australia’s solar manufacturing industry by providing subsidies and grants across the solar photovoltaic (PV) supply chain. Through the Program, ARENA will invest in research and development to foster domestic solar PV manufacturing capability, to support the creation of more Australian-made products.

The Program proposes to include multiple funding rounds, including (at a minimum):

  • Round 1: module manufacturing; and
  • Round 2: other elements of the solar PV supply chain.

Proposed funding rounds

As the funding rounds may be merit based, and may also adopt a competitive process, potential funding applicants should note that their feedback may assist in aligning the relevant funding round merit criteria to their application.1 The proposed merit criteria for Round 1 funding includes:

  • alignment to Round 1 objectives;
  • capability and capacity;
  • project design, methodology, deliverability and risk;
  • financial viability and co-funding commitment; and
  • knowledge sharing.2

How to participate

  1. Applicants and stakeholders may provide feedback by completing the consultation feedback form available on the Solar Sunshot consultation page here.
  2. Any prospective projects under development, or project concepts have been requested to submit feedback via the relevant form for Appendix C. This is available on the Solar Sunshot consultation page here.
  3. ARENA is hosting two information webinars on the Program. Further details are available on the Solar Sunshot consultation page here.


The proposed structure and timeline of the Program, subject to change following feedback from the consultation period, is set out below:

Stage Anticipated timing
Program announced 28 March 2024
Consultation Period opens 23 April 2024
Consultation Period closes 31 May 2024
Program Design Period June – July 2024
Program and Round 1 launch August 2024
Round 1 registration of interest due date September 2024
Applications due under Round 1 November 2024
Round 1 funding decisions made December 2024
Financial close November 2025

If you or your company would like further information or assistance with the consultation process, please contact Matt Baumgurtel, David O’Carroll or your regular Hamilton Locke New Energy Team contact.

The Hamilton Locke team advises across the energy project life cycle – from project development, grid connection, financing, construction, including the buying and selling of development and operating projects. For more information, please contact Hamilton Locke New Energy Partner Matt Baumgurtel.

1Competitive in this context means a ranked process in which applicants are compared with each other. Further illustrative information about ARENA’s approach to competitive (ranked) processes can be found in sections 4.27 to 4.32 of the ARP Guidelines which can be found here.

2For a detailed list of the proposed round 1 merit criteria, please see Appendix B of the Solar Sunshot Consultation Paper here.


Senior Associate