Cleantech will revive manufacturing in Australia

When it comes to jobs of the future in Australia, we don’t often think about the manufacturing industry as a powerhouse in our economy. Much of this stems from how Australia is no longer perceived to have a competitive edge when it comes to manufacturing.

From job losses in car manufacturing to making baby diapers, we’ve heard stories about companies relocating their operations back overseas because production labour costs are much more competitive. Even as factory automation with robotics becomes the next calling for innovation, this has further cast a shadow on why Australian businesses need to invest in local manufacturing capabilities.

But I believe the renaissance in Australian manufacturing will reignite with forward-looking manufacturing like cleantech and this will be one of the industries where companies like sonnen will make local production relevant again.

This has been one of the drivers for sonnen to invest in manufacturing sonnenBatteries at the former Holden facility in Elizabeth, South Australia. Besides tapping on the skills of former Holden employees who have worked in advanced manufacturing, being in Elizabeth has brought us closer to the heritage of Australian manufacturing and to serve sonnen’s largest home battery market in Asia Pacific.

While Elizabeth is our third global manufacturing facility, it will be our first facility in Asia Pacific. Manufacturing in Australia not only guarantees customers of the quality of sonnenBatteries but it also builds on the brand excellence that ‘Made in Australia’ brings to customers. Being in Australia brings us closer to our export markets in New Zealand and Asia where we believe the demand for sonnenBatteries will grow in the future.

Investing in manufacturing is not only about creating jobs. Its about imparting skills and bringing South Australians on a journey.

sonnen partnered with TAFE SA in November as our preferred accreditation training partner for installers of sonnenBatteries. Installers who are upskilling to install home batteries will be accredited to install our batteries and at the same time, meet the growing demand CEC-accredited home battery installers. In May, we hosted students from Tension Woods College in Mount Gambier on a visit to Elizabeth to learn about the production roles we have at our facility.

Being in South Australia taps into our broader desire to help individuals learn how we can revive the future in Australia’s manufacturing industry – but as a business, we are responsible for supporting individuals who want to be part of this journey and to create a viable industry with the right investments.

by Nathan Dunn

CEO APAC/Managing Director sonnen Australia Pty Ltd