In what has been described as a “major milestone”, Australian startup SunDrive has announced a new all-area commercial solar cell efficiency record of 26.07%.
The news, shared via the company’s LinkedIn page, is the latest in a series of solar cell efficiency records set by the young company, which has taken on some of the world’s biggest solar manufacturers in the process.
With tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes backing the company, SunDrive is quickly making a name for itself as a serious player in the global solar cell industry.
The solar tech startup was founded in 2015 by UNSW graduates Vince Allen and David Hu.
From humble beginnings in a garage in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, SunDrive is now aiming to produce low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells locally, and is optimistic about its ability to compete with large Asian solar manufacturers.
And they are on the right track.
Just a few months ago, SunDrive set a new world record for a commercial-size silicon solar cell with an efficiency of 25.54%, surpassing the previous record held by billionaire Chinese solar giant Longi. Additionally, the cell does not contain silver, replacing this expensive metal with much more abundant and cheaper copper.
This latest record of 26.07% further solidifies SunDrive’s place as the world leader in solar cell efficiency.
SunDrive is proud to announce that we have successfully achieved another significant milestone by surpassing the 26% efficiency mark for a full-area commercial-size solar cell.
A great moment for the team as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible.
Copper is revolutionary for the efficiency and cost of solar cells.
In another LinkedIn post, Sundrive co-founder Vince Allen shared that traditional PERC solar cell technology was never designed to scale with the demand we’ll need in the near future.
There is a misconception that solar power is fixed. Current solar technology is at the limit of its efficiency and materials, but we are only 1% of the way to creating a solar electric world.
A major factor in this limitation is due to the materials used, particularly silver, which is expensive and in limited supply. By replacing silver with copper in its new solar cells, SunDrive says it will be able to generate more electricity per square meter on the roof at a lower cost.
Copper is a hundred times cheaper per kilo and a thousand times more abundant than silver. We have also found that we can improve efficiency beyond what is found in the money.
Allen said the low cost high efficiency solar cell production it is becoming increasingly important as we move towards emerging technologies such as solar battery storage, electric vehicles and the electrification of ‘everything’.